First student halls of residence in Weston?

PLANS to convert a former hillside Weston care home into halls of residence for students has been submitted to planning chiefs.

A blueprint for the ‘badly needed’ accommodation has been put forward by Aspire Planning consultancy on behalf of Weston College. If North Somerset Council give it the go-ahead the ex-Grand Panorama residential home in South Road, which closed in 2010, will be the college’s first official multi-roomed accommodation.

The plan is to convert the three-storey building to provide 26 student bedrooms, some en-suite, and a self-contained disabled flat.

Managing director of Aspire, James Davis, said: “We believe this is an ideal location for student accommodation, given its close proximity to the college, local amenities and good public transport links.

“The aim is to limit on-site parking to discourage the use of cars and encourage students to use more sustainable forms of transport.

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“Given the previously high numbers of staff, visitors and deliveries when the building was a nursing home, we believe the impact of the proposed student accommodation on on-street parking will be far smaller than before.”

The college currently has 71 first year degree students in accommodation within Weston, but principal Paul Phillips said it is running at full capacity.

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The plans also include a store for 30 bicycles, as the site is within easy walking distance of the college’s Knightstone Campus.

Students will also be encouraged to use a nearby bus stop to catch services to the University Campus in Loxton Road.

The college’s academic registrar, Sadie Skellon, said: “The planned development would provide badly needed additional accommodation for our first year degree students and give us the flexibility of offering second and third year students the option of remaining in college accommodation.”

The proposals would involve limited internal alterations and include a flat for an onsite warden.

Dr Phillips said: “Our teaching and resources are superb and this new addition to our portfolio of student residences will add to the exciting state of the art facilities for our students.”

The plans, which also include a communal kitchen, lounge and games room, will be discussed in August.

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