City residents ‘rail’ against student flats

The Railton Hotel in Lancaster.
The Railton Hotel in Lancaster.
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Plans to turn a former city centre hotel into student flats have angered local residents who say the scheme is over-intensive and will cause traffic problems.

Developers Back2BaseProperties Ltd have submitted the application to Lancaster City Council to convert the Railton Hotel in Station Road, along with a four-storey extension, into student accommodation.

The property, which has been standing empty in recent years since the hotel closed, would form four studio apartments, one five-bed, three six-bed and two seven-bed cluster flats.

But residents living near the site say the plans are not in keeping with the Conservation Area and will dwarf surrounding properties.

It will also bring extra traffic into the area and cause parking issues.

Amanda Wood, of Laburnum Grove, wrote to the council to lodge her objections to the scheme.

She said: “There is already more than enough student housing. The real problem is finding a private let if you are not a student. We are losing too many spaces to students and not providing for those who permanently reside here.”

Oliver Fulton, of Fairfield Road, said: “This proposal is excessive in scale, and of a design which does not do justice to the importance of the site, whether viewed by visitors arriving at Lancaster by train or as the gateway building for those arriving from the city centre.

“I have no objection in principle to development for student housing but the scale is inappropriate.”

Hugh Roberts, speaking on behalf of Lancaster Civic Society, said the group welcomed the redevelopment of the derelict building, but had concerns about the scale of the plans, the design of the elevation on to Westbourne Road and the modelling of the Station Road facade.

Mr Roberts added: “Given the importance of this site, which for visitors may be the first building they encounter on arrival in the city, we believe the current design would give a very poor impression and we strongly oppose the application in its present form.”