Finding a location for student halls in Stornoway has been difficult.
Developer Cityheart thought the Acres site on Sanwick Road would be suitable especially
after undertaking close consultation with council officials.
The land s owned by the council but would be transferred if the development ever
In its search Cityheat initially drew up a list of seven possible locations.
A shortlist was chosen including the former bakery on Stag Road, and the mothballed
British Legion building.
The British Legion was the council’s favoured option, however due to fragmented ownership
it was not possible to buy the site.
Last year planning permission was turned down for an application to construct a four-storey
block of 45 rooms on the site of the former bakery at Stag Road in Bayhead, following
concerns over its design, scale, form and large size within the neighbouring conservation
Potential sites were looked at again including further but ultimately unsuccessful
efforts to secure the British Legion.
Other options were the former Customs House in Quay Street. However this was considered
too small to accommodate the development.
The Sandwick Road plot is larger than the Bayhead site which was refused planning
permission last year.
Many people backed the idea of having university accommodation within the town but
felt the specific modern design was too controversial and would overwhelm the traditional
street at Bayhead.
The flats are part of the UHI university’s £44 million agreement with Cityheart to
build and operate student residences across the Highlands and Islands.
The developer points out the extra students from outside the region attracted to
study on Lewis will boost the local economy with extra spending in shops and restaurants
as well as their families coming to visit.
Providing student halls is considered “fundamental” for the expansion of the UHI.