News Walthamstow

Council approves plans to build student halls on St James Health Centre site

Tribe Student Housing won council approval to build student halls between three to six storeys tall despite light concerns from neighbours, reports Josh Mellor, Local Democracy Reporter

A graphic of the proposed development in St James Street. Image: Tribe Student Housing

Plans for a new student halls building have been approved on the site of the St James Health Centre in Walthamstow.

Last week, Tribe Student Housing, which has built halls on three sites in South London, won permission to build the halls once the health centre relocates to nearby Brunner Road in October 2024.

The halls containing 224 student rooms will be three to six storeys tall, built around a courtyard with an entrance on St James Street.

Neighbours living opposite the health centre, in the seven storey Hops House, attended the meeting to raise concerns about overshadowing and loss of privacy to their homes.

But councillors on Waltham Forest’s planning committee approved the scheme following the advice of planning officers, who said the impact of the buildings would be “acceptable”.

In their report which advised the committee to grant approval, the planning team concluded that light would not be lost at a “significant” enough amount to justify refusing planning permission.

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They also found that the loss of light to the set of bedroom windows affected on neighbouring Essex Brewery would be “relatively small” compared to the benefits of the development.

John Moss, the committee’s only Conservative member, proposed to delay a decision until the light issue could be clarified, but Labour’s Kira Lewis backed out of supporting his suggestion after assistant director of development management building control Justin Carr said the main cause of loss of light was balconies.

The plans for the large development will bypass the Mayor of London’s planning stage for major develoments as 35% of the rooms will be classed as “affordable”.

Affordable student hall rents are about £600 per month, which is 55% of the maximum student loan available in London.

The 224 student rooms will include 99 bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms in a “cluster” around a shared living space, while 125 will be self-contained studios.

They will be exclusively marketed to students at Portsmouth University’s Walthamstow campus for the first three months.

The ground floor will have 525sqm of commercial space facing the street.

According to Tribe Student Living’s financial viability assessment, the development will cost £42million to build with an estimated profit of £6m.

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