Students object to more student flats in Lancaster

A plan of the site surrounding the Sugarhouse

A plan of the site surrounding the Sugarhouse

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Gripes about new student accommodation in Lancaster are usually the reserve of permanent city residents.

But now students themselves have voiced their opposition to a proposed new development in North Road – because of the effect it will have on their city centre nightclub.

Ironically, it’s the re-development of another long-standing city centre nightclub that has prompted Lancaster University Students’ Union (LUSU) to raise an objection.

Lancaster developer Cityblock has applied to convert the former Gillow building - most recently Elements Nightclub - into student flats.

But the LUSU owned Sugarhouse is located directly behind the building - and the union say a green light for the development, which is expected to go before the planning committee in May, will result in unacceptable noise levels for future student tenants of the building.

Cityblock says it has incorporated measures to reduce noise entering the building, but LUSU vice president Tom Stapleton is unconvinced.

He said: “We believe that putting student flats in this area of town will result in unacceptable noise levels for student tenants.

“It’s unrealistic to think that there are any measures that could be taken to make sound levels acceptable, and we’ve heard of venues up and down the country being forced to close after housing was built nearby.

“We also believe that locating flats here will lead to restrictions being placed on the Sugarhouse that could impact its viability and damage the wider economy of Lancaster.

“The Sugarhouse has been in its present site for around 30 years and is a crucial part of the city’s night-time economy – generating a huge amount of trade for bars and food businesses nearby.

“This development is an inappropriate addition to the city’s student housing market – it’s wrong for students, wrong for Lancaster and we’re urging the council to say no.”

A spokeswoman for Cityblock said: “We believe the Gillows site is a perfect location for student accommodation. Indeed it appears the city council that owns St Leonard’s House will also be submitting plans soon for student accommodation and therefore other property owners agree it is a good location. We have completed a noise assessment and we have identified the required acoustic configuration of the building. We are aware of the noise issues and intend to create a rear façade that will be effective in ensuring that the Gillows conversion will be of the highest standard to satisfy any concerns.”

Plans are also being developed to convert the Lancaster City Council owned St Leonard’s House – immediately behind the Sugarhouse – into student accommodation.

The 1,300-capacity Sugarhouse is the biggest nightclub in Lancaster, exclusively serving students from both Lancaster University and the University of Cumbria.