Office block in Cardiff set to become student accommodation despite residents’ fears

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An office block in Cardiff will become student accommodation despite residents branding the plans “absolutely ridiculous”.

The empty block on Cathays Terrace will become a 24-bedroom student block, butlocal councillors objected to the move stating that “further student accommodation is not required or warranted” in the area.

Other residents also objected with one describing “living in what feels like someone else’s holiday camp”.

In a letter from all three Cathays councillors, Cllr Norma Mackie, Cllr Sarah Merry and Cllr Chris Weaver, they said: “We do not object to development of this site but we do feel that further student accommodation is not required or warranted in Cathays.

“As you are aware, there are already major issues in Cathays with the ratio of student HMO’s and accommodation to family housing, causing noise and anti-social behaviour, increased waste on the streets and issues with parking.

“Putting a 24 bedroom student development backing onto three streets will only further inflame and disrupt the lives [of] residents in Flora Street, Letty Street and Cathays Street”.



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They asked planners to reject the application and “suggest this site would be more suitable for, much needed, non-student housing.”

Another formal objection by one Letty Street resident, which adjoins to the courtyard where the building is located, said it has “become a dispiriting place to live”.

They said: “I’m currently seeking a move away because I’m tired of the noise and the waste and living in what feels like someone else’s holiday camp. Sleep and living patterns are adversely affected.

“Every year there are issues and what little is done to fix them is wiped from the slate as the perpetrators move out and new residents begin the cycle afresh.

“It can be very frustrating and stressful and I expect it to get worse if the development goes ahead.”

Another resident said the plans are “absolutely ridiculous” adding “more student accommodation is just not needed.”

They said: “I have owned my home in Cathays for 30 years [and] I have never known it so bad with noisy students and their anti-social behaviour with a total disregard for the community they are living in.”

In 2015 developers said that the building was owned by the Welsh Government, originally acquired by them as part of the Arts Council merger to be used as a training facility.

A now withdrawn listing for the building had a guide price at £600,000.

The developer said: “However, although suited to Arts Council use with studios and specialised ancillary space, the location, layout, specification, condition and restricted parking were all constraints, which taken together, rendered it unfit for efficient Welsh Government use.

“The offices and two of the three studio units are currently unoccupied and have been for some time.”

In 2015 the developers said: “The proposed use is the only realistic solution for re-use of the site with good economic justification.”

A decision notice approving the plans was published by the council on April 8.



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