Public meeting about the planning application to build flats for 262 students on the Victoria Road playing field


Concerned local residents came to Our Lady of Lourdes church hall this evening to find out more about a plan to build a gated community comprising flats to house 262 students on the Victoria Road playing field site. The meeting began at 7pm and was chaired by Sue Buckle and Dawn Carey Jones. Answering questions on behalf of the developers, Maple Grove Developments, were Richard Frudd of town planning consultants Quod, Jeremy Binnian of Yorvale, and representatives from the architects. Jeremy Binnian said they hope the scheme would be managed by Unipol and that Unipol’s Martin Blakey has said he’d like to manage the scheme. Richard Frudd said that Unipol’s figures show that just 10% of their students have cars. The developers haven’t purchased the land and will only do so if they get planning permission. During the meeting, local people made the following points:

  • The shortage of playing fields means local children play on the street or waste ground.
  • Local schools have very little open space.
  • The development would increase student numbers in Hyde Park as the proposed gated community would attract students who prefer this sort of accommodation rather than students who currently choose to live in Hyde Park.
  • Local people don’t want this development.
  • The access to the proposed development from Victoria Road would be directly opposite the access to the main school site development.
  • How would Victoria Road cope with all the extra traffic?
  • There’s no guarantee that this planning application won’t be succeeded by another.
  • This meeting with local people should have taken place before the planning application was submitted – not after.
  • The developers have no idea how much their proposal would cost.
  • When the previous application was approved we were promised the development would not be for students and that it would be affordable housing.
  • A gym could have been included in the plans.
  • The Grammar School is robbing the community of its green space.
  • The on site green space would not be accessible to the local community.
  • Local people are offended by the proposal for a gated community, which suggests students need protecting from local people.
  • The site was sold to the school on the understanding it would be used for sports.
  • The area needs provision for local young people, not wealthy students.
  • Local people won’t be able to access the people making noise within a gated community.
  • The scheme doesn’t meet the aims of the Hyde Park Neighbourhood Forum to improve demographic balance, sports facilities, and green space.
  • It doesn’t meet with the Core Strategy Policy requiring that development creates balanced communities.
  • The developers should approach their charitable trust and ask them to build sports facilities on the site for the local community to use.
  • Where are the shops, doctors, and dentists for these extra 262 students?
  • 43% of students have cars, so the proposed 32 car parking spaces is inadequate.
  • The proposal is not aesthetically pleasing or pleasing from a design point of view.
  • The proposal does not fit in with the rest of Hyde Park.
  • The wooden panelling would look dreadful after ten years.
  • The local MP Greg Mulholland is strongly opposed to the scheme and says that the council was duped into agreeing the previous proposal.
  • We already have a surplus of student accommodation, alongside a shortage of sports facilities and family housing.


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