Nearly 1,000-bed student flats and 400 homes approved

The huge development will be built near the River Clyde in Glasgow.

Nearly 1,000-bed student flats and 400 homes recommended approved by Glasgow Council

More than 400 homes and a 934-bed student accommodation development can be built near the River Clyde after a firm secured permission from Glasgow City Council.

The city’s planning committee has approved Summix Capital’s proposal to redevelop land at Central Quay, which also includes 11 commercial units.

Councillors made the decision at a hearing on Tuesday morning, where Stuart Black, development director for the firm, said his company is “well-positioned” to help the city provide more student housing.

Summix had intended to provide a hotel on the site, under a previously approved application, but told the council that it had been replaced with student accommodation due to “the lack of demand for hotel and office uses”.

They can now build 409 residential flats and offer 934 student beds over four blocks on the land, which is bounded by Anderston Quay, Warroch Street, Whitehall Street and Hydepark Street.

Anderston Community Council objected to the project due to concerns that so many new residents will overwhelm stretched services, such as doctors and dentists, the lack of social housing and potential high rents.

Mr Black said his firm had reached out to the NHS but “didn’t have a particularly successful dialogue with them”. He said it had also had “early conversations” with dentists and pharmacists, who asked them to come back once the development had progressed.

He also told the committee that his company was “aware of the acute student housing crisis” in Glasgow. “We understood with our background in student housing that we were well-positioned to help solve that problem,” he said,

Mr Black added Summix also had an “understanding of the standard housing demand, and again as a residential developer with expertise in that area, we felt that we could deliver on that as well”.

He said the firm was also attracted by Glasgow’s “future vision and its ambitions for growth” and the site’s “connectivity, its proximity to the Clyde, its proximity to the city” and transport links.

Cllr Imran Alam, Labour, said: “I think it is a very good development. If we look at the city centre living strategy, the key is to increase the population to 40,000. In order to do that, we need to build somewhere. I think it’s a good mix of residential and student.”

Cllr Thomas Kerr, Conservative, said: “I think it looks good, it really looks the part. It is an empty, derelict site down near the Clyde and I think it’ll be a good asset for the area.

“One of the concerns that always gets raised is student populations often feel a bit remote so they are not part of the community that exists. I think that having a mix of residential and student is probably a good way of trying to go forward.”

There were concerns about the balance of residential and student accommodation, with Cllr Eva Bolander, SNP, saying she would have “liked to see more residential housing considering we have a housing crisis”.

“I think there is a risk we are overdeveloping for student accommodation, and not creating the good mix that creates really good communities,” she added.

However, she said: “I think this development has lots of things going for it. We are developing a brownfield site which is positive, we are getting more residential housing which is positive.”

Council planners reported the development would unlock “a long-term vacant site on the river corridor” and offer a “significant number of new homes for a varied tenure, both private flats and student accommodation”.

Currently, the council doesn’t believe it is “appropriate” to apply a 25% affordable housing provision which is included in national planning policies. Its position is that “affordable housing should be met through the council’s strategic housing investment programme”.

The developers will need to provide a financial contribution of £380,000 to cover a lack of open space in the plans.

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