Huge York student block set to become even bigger – as developers apply to raise the height
Three blocks at a controversial student housing development in York are set to be made taller.
Construction work is already underway on the 368-room student accommodation in Fulford Road, which is the former site of Frederick House.
But the developers have changed the plans to make three of the six blocks taller because they discovered there is not enough height to insulate and waterproof the buildings to meet regulation standards.
Fishergate planning panel says making the changes at a late stage suggests that the original proposals were “at best either inadequately planned or over hopeful”.
Neighbours and local councillors have objected. The height of the new buildings were already a worry to residents when the original plans were approved in 2020.
The plans would see blocks B, C and D reduced in height by between 0.3m and 0.5m. Blocks F and G will be increased in height by 0.7m. Block E has varying heights and will be increased by up to 0.2m in places.
Plans for juliet balconies on the buildings will be scrapped, planned timber cladding will be replaced with brick and the green roof on the substation will not go ahead because of safety concerns.
The council’s planning department has recommended that the changes are approved, saying the changes are “modest”.
But 16 neighbours wrote letters objecting to the changes. They are worried about loss of light and the buildings overshadowing people’s homes. They also raised questions about how the project could be approved if it did not meet building regulations.
Fishergate councillors Andy D’Agorne and Dave Taylor called in the decision to be discussed by the planning committee.
Cllr Taylor said the increase in height is “unacceptable”.
He write: “Residents of nearby streets, in particular Kilburn Road, have expressed to me over many months their concerns about the height of the development, overlooking of their properties, and the potential or noise from the development and noise and nuisance of new residents travelling to and from the accommodation to the University of York down their street.”
A planning report says the changes are necessary for the applicant to meet building regulations and although people have questioned whether this should have been considered earlier, regulations are separate to the planning application system.
It adds: “The revisions to the design are considered to have a neutral impact on the overall design of the scheme, with a modest height increase to three buildings balanced against reductions to three other buildings.
“The removal of timber cladding does not adversely impact on the overall design of the scheme and the removal of the Juliet balconies is supported.”
The owners of the development have changed since planning permission was granted, from Summix FHY Developments to Watkin Jones Group.
The plans are set to be decided at a meeting on Thursday, August 5, at 4.30pm.