Kegworth student housing plan for village's oldest building approved despite concern

kegworth student housing plan for village's oldest building approved despite concern

The building is believed to be one of the oldest in Kegworth

Plans to transform one of the oldest buildings in Kegworth into student housing has been approved despite many concerns. Residents and councillors had claimed the scheme could have a “detrimental effect” on the area’s history, but it has now been greenlit.

The plan centred on the dilapidated building next to Orchard Surgery in Kegworth’s Dragwell. It is believed to date back to the 1500s, with developers keen to transform the former three-bedroom home into a six-bed house in multiple occupation (HMO) for six residents.

It was a plan that sparked major fear from residents and councillors alike though who feared the scheme was not in keeping with Kegworth’s history, while traffic fears were repeatedly voiced. Kegworth Parish Council also hit out at the potential of another HMO in the village, with several recently approved, including a fifth in the Heafield Drive cul-de-sac.

In documents, applicant Sam Smith made clear the desire to redevelop both floors of the historic building, with the idea of making it student housing for those attending the Sutton Bonington campus of the University of Nottingham. Two bedrooms would be placed on the ground floor alongside a communal kitchen and living area, while a further four bedrooms would then occupy the first floor. All six rooms would come with en-suite bathrooms.

No parking provisions were ever included in the plan – something which long sparked controversy with Kegworth Parish Council. It claimed the “insufficient” proposal would “exacerbate existing parking problems in the area” due to the tightly built nature of Dragwell, but officials on North West Leicestershire District Council (NWLDC), who oversaw the scheme, believed otherwise.

In its report, it acknowledged that the proposal did have a “shortfall of two spaces” for a HMO of its size, but it said the County Highways Authority had reported on the “frequent public transport links” in the area from Kegworth to Derby as well as to Nottingham. With sufficient cycle parking provided, it said the site would “encourage” sustainable transport.

Concerns the plan could affect the heritage of Dragwell were dismissed too. Ward member, Councillor Carole Sewell, had previously said the project could put the history of the building “in danger of being lost” for good, but NWLDC said the HMO would in fact “preserve the character and appearance” of the area.

In its approval of the plan, the council said concerns about increased traffic and parking could equally apply to a “large family” as well as a HMO and that the planning process could not control who ultimately moved into the building. It added that the transformation would not result in any “significant impacts” and was acceptable.

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