Selly Oak MP objects to plans for more student accommodation

Steve McCabe MP has objected to plans for yet more student accommodation in Selly Oak as there is already a surplus of this type of accommodation in his constituency. 

Steve has expressed serious concerns about plans to convert Beechenhurst House and erect four, three storey annex blocks to create student accommodation comprising of 55 bedrooms on Serpentine Road, which falls under a conservation area.

As a constituency, Selly Oak already has a surplus of student HMOs and purpose built student accommodation. There are over 1,000 student bedrooms in development and there has been no increase in student numbers. Steve has said that to approve the application would be illogical and unnecessary as the demand simply isn’t there and Selly Oak is already saturated with halls of residence and HMOs.

Steve is also objecting on the grounds that:

·  Only 4 parking spaces have been allocated for the 55 bedroom development, this is likely to lead to tenants parking on Serpentine Road

·  The design proposals are not in keeping with the character of properties on the road

·  Serpentine Road is adjacent to Bournbrook Road, a residential road that has been blighted by HMOs

·  The privacy of local residents will be affected as the build overlooks neighbouring gardens

·  Plans for high quality student accommodation at the battery site have been pre-approved and there is no reason to favour expansion of this type of  accommodation in a conservation area

Steve has also questioned the LPA’s timing as the public consultation period is due to end 20 August when most people are away for their summer holidays. Steve has asked the Director of the Planning Department to extend the deadline so that local residents can have their say.

Whilst the developers say that they will create high quality student accommodation, Steve has stressed that the LPA have already approved high quality student accommodation in Selly Oak on the former Rich Bitch studio site and Elliot Road. Both applications for these builds were opposed by Steve, local residents, Selly Oak Councillors and the University of Birmingham. Despite opposition from key stakeholders, the projects were given the go ahead by the Council. Steve has warned that if the plans for Beechenhurst House are approved, this will set the precedent for property developers and landlords to expand further into residential areas. Steve hopes that the Director of the Planning Department will reject this application under Article 4 Direction laws.

Steve McCabe MP said:

"I have been contacted by countless constituents with complaints that their local communities are being destroyed by property developers. The proliferation of further student accommodation in Selly Oak is of concern to many local residents and is totally unnecessary.

“High quality student accommodation already exists in Selly Oak and there are approved plans to introduce more. Building more student accommodation in a highly residential conservation area seems absurd to me which is why I have objected and asked local residents to do the same. I do not think that this development will contribute any value to Selly Oak and I have urged the Director of Planning to seriously consider the concerns of local residents and key stakeholders before arriving at a decision on this application.”

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