An appeal has been lodged against the planning refusal to build a student halls’
complex in Stornoway.
Planning councillors rejected a bid to erect a 60 room complex plus a 65 space carpark
opposite the council offices on Sandwick Road.
The hostel would double up as tourist accommodation in the summer.
A recently constructed shared temporary accommodation hostel and an existing hotel
flank the site.
Developer Cityheart wanted to construct a “L” shaped complex for students studying
at the Lews Castle College.
The application was thrown out because councillors said it went against the local
development plan by introducing a residential use beside the existing Newton commercial
and industrial area.
That meant future residents would be legally entitled to complain about noise coming
from the nearby industrial and transport depots - even though these businesses set
up there many years ago.
Cityheart has appealed saying noise levels would be reduced to acceptable levels
by fitting acoustic glazing to the windows overlooking the Newton area.
In addition, installing a mechanical ventilation system would allow windows to remain
An intervening buffer of land landscaped with earthen mounds and planted with trees
was also proposed.
The college points out it took advice from the comhairle’s own officials and the
Sandwick Road site was “deemed to meet the current location requirements.”
Finding a location for student halls in Stornoway has been difficult.
A shortlist of two sites was chosen out 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.