Student hall plan opposed

PLANS to transform a former nursing home into a 28-bed hall of residence have been objected to by nearby householders.

Developers want to convert the former Mount Oswald Nursing Home, in Hutton Avenue, Hartlepool, into “much-needed” student accommodation.

The two-and-a-half-storey building has been closed for the past five years and developers are keen to bring it back into use.

But more than a dozen residents have objected to the plans.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning committee is due to meet tomorrow to discuss the plans and members have been recommended to approve it.

The application, submitted by Surrey-based developer Chris McHale, of Guildford, includes alterations to windows, doors and roof lights.

If the plans are approved, Cleveland Police have called for CCTV to be installed and for the Victorian site to be permanently managed by a “responsible adult”.

Planning officers have received 15 letters of objection from residents who say it is not in keeping with a conservation.

They have also expressed concerns about parking and security issues as well as noise and general disturbance worries.

Members of the Hartlepool Civic Society have also strongly objected saying it is “totally unsuitable” for the conservation area.

A major concern of theirs is that the application is for C1 use, which covers hotels as well as halls of residence.

They argue that if the application is approved, but circumstances change, then a hotel could “easily” be established in the street.

A letter of objection said: “The whole area could radically change in a very short time and approval would set a dangerous precedent.”

But the applicant said there is a major shortfall of good quality student accommodation in town and that it is not “practical” to revert the building back to a single home as there is no demand for such a large property.

The applicant has also confirmed that a residential warden system would be in place to supervise students.

A planning report added that Cleveland College of Art and Design bosses are “very enthusiastic” at the prospect of some form of halls of residence for their students.

They say some students are put off coming to Hartlepool because of the lack of dedicated student accommodation.

Mount Oswald Nursing Home was open for 17 years, but closed five years ago.

The planning committee is due to meet on tomorrow at 10am.