Student flats plan in Preston fails at appeal stage

Friargate Social Club
Friargate Social Club

An appeal against the decision to block the development of a former Preston social club into student flats has been dismissed.

The council’s planning committee had rejected the bid for Friargate Social Club in June stating its size would have an “unacceptable overbearing impact”.

READ MORE: Decaying club to be student flat-tened?
Developers Fort Group Ltd appealed the decision but an independent inspector has agreed the four to seven storey accommodation would be “incongruous”.

The plans on Maudland Bank would have seen the club building demolished to make way for 21 cluster flats along with a gym and cinema room.

In a decision report, inspector Graeme Robbie said although the building would be of a “comparable scale to others within the UCLan campus” it would “introduce a substantial structure into the modestly scaled surroundings of Maudland Bank”.

The designs had been recommended for approval by council officers for bringing a vacant building back into use and were predicted to make a “positive contribution to the street scene.”

However, eight out of nine committee members voted to refuse the application.

Mr Robbie added that although the loss of the “unkempt and untidy” building “would perhaps not be mourned” this does not justify the “level of harm” caused by its size compared to the surrounding area.