A decaying social club in Preston which has been at the brunt of vandalism, anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping is to be bulldozed.
Developers have been granted leave to build student accommodation in place of Friargate Social Club in Maudland Bank.
The green light for the four-storey building providing 142 flats was met with dismay by residents who say plans are not keeping with the area.
At a development planning meeting at Preston City Council on Thursday, September 6 where the proposal was passed with a majority of only two votes councillors raised concerns about whether the flats would be used for key workers as well.
Debating the issue coun Stuart Greenhalgh called for a “cast-iron guarantee that it would only ever be used by students”.
Coun Pauline Brown told the meeting that the city’s current student flats were not being filled with students. She added: “I have a lot of reservations about the size of this building. We are not even filling the empty spaces we have got now with key workers.”
The Maudland Bank application does not make any mention of providing flats to anyone other than students. However the concern expressed by members of the city council comes after a trend which has seen accommodation, initially dedicated for students, opened up to key workers and apprentices. Both the Tramshed and Canterbury Hall had similar amendments approved by planners. In both cases councillors expressed their worries over parking issues.
There are no plans for parking at the Maudland Bank site. Planning documents state: “A drop off collection area would be provided at the front of the building.”
Speaking at the meeting one resident raised his concerns about the plans for the student flats.
“This development is overbearing in size and scale and does not suit the neighbourhood,” he said.
He added that “it would be an eyesore on the skyline” and impact the view of St Walburge’s Spire.
Addressing the concerns about the skyline the agent said: “We have gone down to four floors .
“The church will not be effected.“
Coun Peter Moss also added: “I don’t believe it will be detrimental to the view of St Walburge’s Spire.”