Campus Living Villages, the Albany Park student accommodation provider and planning applicant, has released a statement in response to widespread criticism of the proposed scheme. These criticisms include concerns about access, increased traffic in the East Sands area, inadequate provision of parking, lack of a travel plan for students moving between Albany Park and their teaching locations in town, capacity of the sewer system and treatment works, the design and massing of the buildings and their impact on the surrounding area.
Jo Hawley, Commercial Director at Campus Living Villages, said: “Our £100m redevelopment plans for Albany Park will create 892 student beds. The development will also be serviced by a dedicated 121-space car park, which will include six accessible bays and 31 spaces for the Scottish Oceans Institute.
“If granted planning consent, the proposals will deliver many benefits for both the University and the local community, as well as a huge boost to the local economy. The development will help relieve pressure on the local housing stock, freeing up more local housing for people looking to get on the property ladder. The plans will also enable the University to meet its student accommodation targets and help maintain its status as the country’s leading University. What’s more, the construction of the new development will help to create employment opportunities for local tradesmen and labourers, benefiting workers in the area.
“It is also worth noting that a standard bed at the proposed development will be amongst the cheapest available through the University. Compared to Whitehorn and Powell, which costs £144.36 and £186.85 a week respectively, and Traditional Halls – £134.46 per week – a standard bedroom at Albany Park will cost the student staying there £129.30 a week. And, aside from being brand new, the bedrooms will be a huge improvement on what was previously provided at Albany Park. Rooms will be much better, with mental health wellbeing playing a deciding factor in design and layout. Students will also have access to Superfast Wi-Fi, as well as to the enhanced facilities building, which will boast spacious communal and study areas.
“We appreciate and understand the comments raised regarding traffic and would like to try to allay these concerns. As part of our planning application, we have completed a thorough and robust transport assessment of the local road and pedestrian network. This looked at traffic data for the area at peak times and concluded that the proposed development would not have an adverse impact on vehicle movements. Whilst it is true that the new development will increase people trips to and from the site, the majority – around 96% – will be on foot or bicycle. In fact, it is expected that, due to the relocation of the University’s Estates office, the number of staff generated car trips using Woodburn Place will be significantly reduced from around 54 to 13 peuniversitys day.
“I hope this helps to address the issue, but would encourage anyone with any questions to get in touch so we can provide them with more information. We are now looking forward to a decision at Planning Committee.”