An appeal against the denial of planning permission for student flats in the now empty passport office building in Northgate Street has been successful.
An original attempt to get planning permission for the redevelopment of the building which closed in 2011 was denied by Ceredigion County Council over a number of concerns including a lack of parking facilities and residents concerns over noise.
The Welsh Planning Inspectorate was then brought in to look at the plans which had been put forward by housing association Tai Cantref and overturned the original decision.
The reaction from a number of local residents has been shock, although the influx of students into this area of the town will bring great benefits to the shops along Northgate Street. The number of rooms has also been reduced to ensure that the plans were passed, and Tai Cantref must also install double glazing, sound proofing and ensure a warden is on site from 6pm until 7am to keep an eye on the site.
Although many local residents have objected to the plans one thing that has yet to be mentioned is the fact that there is already a strong student presence in private rented accommodation in the areas off Northgate Street and Llanbadarn Road.
The plans should help to alleviate pressure on the current student housing stock as in recent years the university has seen a problem with accommodation numbers which has led to students being placed in guest houses and hotels whilst bunk beds have also been placed in some halls of residence. Recently planning permission was also granted to build a 1000 bed residence on the open space behind Pentre Jane Morgan student village to further address the problem.
Work to renovate the building is scheduled to be completed as soon as December with the residence being opened in time for the Lent semester.