Former offices set to be turned into student flats
MORE students could be moving into a town after plans were put forward to convert offices into flats.
Developers want to overhaul both the Majestic Chambers and Majestic Court in Stoke to provide student accommodation and private apartments.
The latest plans have been put forward as work on a 120-bedroom complex on the site of the nearby former Lomax Nightclub is set to get underway.
Now businesses say they hope the extra homes will bring more people to the town centre ahead of the council's civic centre moving to Hanley.
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The scheme, drawn up by RV Properties Limited, involves creating more than 40 flats, bedsits and studios across the two sites.
Some of the flats would be available to students and others would be rented out on the private market.
A design and access statement in support of the project states: "Combined with the close proximity of available car parking, and other facilities, the proposed residential units should attract young couples and students alike, who tend to thrive in such environments.
"The proposed development is not of a contentious nature, and is more likely to be welcomed by local businesses and residents."
The plans involve turning Majestic Chambers, in Campbell Place, into four two-bedroom flats and eight one-bedroom flats for private rent.
And Majestic Court, which faces South Wolfe Street, would be transformed into four clusters of seven to eight bedrooms for students.
The upper storeys of the two buildings, which are linked at the ground floor, have been empty for a number of years.
The report adds: "The occupation of upper floors above retail units is a widespread problem, which is due to many factors, mostly the economical conversion of the properties and availability of parking.
"In this particular instance and because of the generally sound condition of the buildings, conversion to residential use should be relatively straight forward."
Police have praised the developer for situating the accommodation away from the ground floor.
David Elkington, Staffordshire Police's architectural liaison officer, said: "The absence of any student accommodation at ground floor level is certainly a good starting point for this proposal given the nationwide issues that have arisen where burglary of ground floor student flats has occurred and laptops in particular have been targeted."
The scheme, which is currently being considered by planners at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, also provides parking for bikes.
The authority approved plans by developer AJP Worldwide and PrimeSite Developments to build a five-storey student flats complex on the site of the one-time Danilo Cinema in Hill Street.
Stoke Traders' Group chairman Cynthia Bruce, who runs Aisle of Brides, hopes the extra town centre accommodation will help bring more footfall to the area.
She said: "You can't have enough people living in Stoke so I think it is a good thing. The old Lomax site is an eyesore and it will be good when that is cleared and the flats are built in its place."
The city council is due to make a decision by the end of March.