Planners at Harris Lamb have been successful at a Public Inquiry, having appealed Coventry City Council’s decision to reject proposals to demolish an industrial building and replace it with purpose-built student accommodation.

Acting on behalf of DR2H Limited, the Planning Consultancy appealed the decision to refuse the plans to demolish Brookside House in Burnsall Road, and to build student accommodation with landscaping and amenities at the site. 

Having heard the evidence at the Inquiry, the Inspector upheld the appeal, noting the site was in a sustainable location, and that the redundant building would be better replaced with much-needed accommodation to serve students at Warwick University.

Paul Barton, of Harris Lamb’s Planning Consultancy, said: “We are delighted with this outcome. The Planning Inspector took just 18 weeks to allow the development, in the light of additional evidence, and the scheme should be a real benefit to the City in terms of use and architecture.

“Our clients can now proceed with their plans to replace a tired industrial unit with no beneficial use, with a high-quality development to meet an identified need for further student accommodation in Coventry,” he added.

The decision letter issued by the Inspector said: “I have little evidence before me that the proposal would deter future commercial uses. In fact, evidence provided in the Appellant’s submissions highlight that, despite the proximity of these businesses to the existing residential properties further along Burnsall Road and Burnsall Grove, there has been little complaint or conflict between these different uses.”

It went on: “It has been demonstrated that the proposed development would be in a suitable location in respect of its impacts on the nearby employment uses, the living conditions of future occupiers and access to services, facilities and the University.”

A CGI of the planned accommodation

The accommodation is proposed as a car-free development, an approach supported by the Council’s highway department, with the university campus, services and facilities being easily accessible by walking, cycling and bus. The development includes the provision of a minimum of 50 cycle spaces, a cycle hire docking station, and the potential to provide more spaces if required. 

The report also noted that during the Inquiry, the Council reviewed its position and advised the Inquiry that it no longer sought to defend its reasons for refusal or the appeal.

Rishi Malhan, of DR2H, said: “We are pleased that our 196-bed premium all-studio PBSA scheme was recently granted planning permission through appeal. The asset is within minutes of Cannon Park shopping centre and University campus access via walk, and features over 200 sq m of amenity space, including a private gym, cinema, rooftop terrace and masterchef-style kitchen facilities. 

“It will offer our students a great location to enjoy university life, with access to all that the City provides, best-in-class amenities and living facilities in a building that respects iconic city architecture, whilst being only moments away from the top ten university, Warwick University.

“We keep sustainability front and centre, providing safe 50-bay cycle storage on site and contributing to a new Midlands Transport bike facility to be installed nearby. This offers an easy 5-minute cycle to the centre of campus.” 

DR2H is a Coventry-based, family-owned Real Estate Development company established in 2017; since its inception, the team have developed and delivered both PBSA and Franchise Car Dealership assets. Including this 196-bed development, DR2H will have delivered £60MM GDV of assets. DR2H prides itself on high quality, emphasising details to ensure sustainability and the highest end-user satisfaction whilst working with design teams with the same goal.