Anger over more student housing plans

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Liverpool's Georgian Quarter. Pic © Derek Harper Creative Commons

Liverpool’s Georgian Quarter. Pic © Derek Harper Creative Commons

Disputed plans to convert the Hahnmann Building on Hope Street into student accommodation have been given the green light this week despite serious opposition from three councillors in the area.

The grade II listed building formerly operated as a hospital but has been unused for many years. The project, to convert the building into a 100-room student complex, first gained planning permission in 2013 but, until now, no work has commenced.

Councillors met at a planning meeting led by Liverpool City Council on Tuesday to discuss the plans that had members of The Rodney Street Association concerned that the area “was becoming too full of temporary residents.”

Irene Johnson, 42, lives on Hope Place in the Georgian Quarter and told JMU Journalism: “It is a concern. When my children grow up, how many of the houses in this area will have been converted into student digs? I don’t want my children to have to struggle for housing where they grew up. They need to maintain some of the area’s charm and leave it be.”

The area is already rich in student accommodation as it is within each of two of the city’s university campuses. In recent years, it has come under increased criticism as more and more student bars have opened in the area that was once well known as being Liverpool’s arts area.

Ward councillors Steve Munby, Hetty Wood and Paul Brant, have expressed concerns that there was a lack of consultation over plans and that an over concentration of students in this area would have a damning impact.

In their documents laid before the committee, all three ward councillors expressed their fears for the area.

They said: “The Rodney Street Association has commented that insufficient public consultation has been undertaken for this application, and considers the proposals inappropriate as they would further contribute towards an over-concentration of student accommodation in this locality, which risks de-stabilising the local community.”

Even though such concerns were expressed, councillors gave the go-ahead for the proposed plans to convert the Hahnemann Building into student accommodation.

About Lisa Rimmer, JMU Journalism