Student Accommodation

 DHA was part of the team that recently secured approval on appeal for the development of student accommodation in Canterbury for its client, Canbury Holdings.

The success follows an earlier refusal, when the Planning Committee overturned a recommendation to approve due to concerns about the impact of the development on the city’s medieval walls.

The proposed redevelopment of the former Victorian St Mary Bredin School by Canbury Holdings into 146 bedrooms in 17 clusters of flats had been supported by the Council’s conservation team and with Historic England, but some committee members has disagreed with this advice.

Key facts
  • Redevelopment of a former school
  • Historic setting

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Canbury Holdings had previously developed the adjacent Palamon Court, the successful high quality student accommodation which, like St Mary Bredin, had been designed by Guy Hollaway Architects.

An assessment of the former school showed that the cost of the refurbishment for any reasonable use of the site would be greater than its subsequent value. Historic England and the City Council accepted the conclusion that re-use of the building was clearly unviable.

Thanks to heritage consultancy advice provided by Montagu Evans, Historic England and the Council’s Conservation Officers were satisfied that the removal of a mound on site would not be an unacceptable impact on the area’s heritage or archaeology.

It was clear that the proposed building would replace a highly visible rundown site with a contemporary building that the Inspector noted was a well-considered design which would be in keeping with its setting, and would not harm the setting of the historic walls.  The Guy Hollaway design was influenced by a study by artist Minty Sainsbury of the diversity of Canterbury’s built form.

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