A fresh bid to build a student halls’ complex in Stornoway has been launched.
In April Hebrides News revealed plans to construct student accommodation at the Acres
site on Sandwick Road.
Developer Cityheart is in negotiations with the comhairle which owns the site.
Now Cityheart has applied for planning permission to construct a “L” shaped three-storey
high complex for students studying at the Lews Castle College.
Some 53 single bedrooms would be provided plus four studio flats.
Clusters of six bedrooms - with en-suite shower room facilities - would share a kitchen
and living room.
In a planning document, architects Colin Armstrong said: “The Acres site in Stornoway
was identified as an ideal location for a building of this function.
“The purpose of this project is to form part of the delivery of student residences
to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland to support the developing University of
the Highlands and Islands.”
Layout scale and proportion of the complex has been “directly influenced” by the
surrounding buildings said the architects.
Designed to mirror the adjacent Acres accommodation, the shape of the student halls
will “minimise the visual impact of the buildings within their setting.”
During the summer the rooms could be used as extra tourism accommodation it is understood.
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.
Cityheart’s managing director, Mark McNamee pointed 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.
He highlighted he is “genuinely excited” to try and find a solution to build student
accommodation on Lewis.
The developer said providing student halls is “fundamental” for the expansion of
To exploit the opportunity for growth, Stornoway needs to provide student accommodation
or risk being at a competitive disadvantage in a growing market place, he stressed.