NEIGHBOURS of proposed student accommodation in Bognor Regis have objected to the plans.
They fear the conversion of the Villa Maria convent in Campbell Road will cause annoyance and disruption to the residential area.
SCG Developments has applied for planning permission from Arun District Council to change the use of the property from a residential institution to accommodation for 25 students.
Dr Anne Dean and Irene Kemp, of Sovereign Court in Campbell Road, told Arun before the deadline for comments closed earlier this month they were extremely concerned about the proposal.
“We – and a number of other residents residing in Sovereign Court – are strongly opposed to this proposal and feel extremely anxious since it could change the whole tenor of living in this very quiet road and our quality of life could be seriously affected by issues such as noise, parking difficulties etc.
“Campbell Road is made up almost exclusively of developments of retirement flats and is known as one of the quietest roads in the whole of Bognor Regis. We would like it to stay that way,” they stated.
“We personally have previous direct experience of living in close proximity to student accommodation and the noise that inevitably resulted from this at all hours of the day and night,” they stated.
John and Betty Rudkin, also of Sovereign Court, wrote: “However well managed initially there would not be any control over activities of the students when outside the proposed property. Management could change and we would have no guarantee of continuity.”
Gavin Moat lives in Priory Court next to Villa Maria. He urged Arun to be sensitive to the character of the road and refuse the proposal. “Campbell Road already has limited parking. The residents who live in this road have to pay for a parking permit.
“A further 25 units being occupied on this road would cause congestion and residents fighting for parking spaces. I am very concerned that if this building is to house students…then we would be subjected to anti-social behaviour,” he said.
Villa Maria is a substantial 2.5 storey Edwardian villa of some 580sq m which was used as a nursing home before it became a convent in the late 1970s.
A statement by SCG Developments’ planning agent, Paul White, says: “The proposal entails a change of use of an existing residential institution use with a modest side extension to the existing building and proposed single storey detached building to the rear.
“The proposal is for a ‘car free’ development in order not to over burden the highway network or existing on street parking arrangements.
“A nominated and salaried student warden will be resident on site and will liaise with the offsite ‘My Student Let’ management team for the benefit of the students themselves and their neighbours.”
Andrew Edwards, the principal of the LSI Portsmouth language school, has supported the application because of the way the applicant has managed its halls of accommodation. It is one of two letters of support Arun has received along with 13 letters of objection. Bognor Regis Town Council has twice decided not to object provided a 24 hour helpdesk is available for neighbours to contact.