We previously had a planning permission for a 10 storey 48,000 sq/ft office block - but thought that we could extract more value out of the site.
Bracken Group has now recently achieved planning permission for 426 student accommodation units over 16 floors. It is ideally situated in the busy hub and town centre location of the Bournemouth University campus, which includes other Student Hall buildings, teaching and operational facilities.
The road to the final planning permission was not an easy one, as we were negotiating permission that was totally against the local planning policy requirements, which stated that any developments in the area should be predominantly led with an employment driven use, for example an office block, was their preference.
We started the process by putting together an experienced planning team and then the submission of an outline application for the 426-unit 16-floor development with no employment space at all.
The application ran for an extended period and we were eventually informed that the application had been refused.
We then had the tough decision of what to do next and initially we spoke to the Planning Department about a compromise, in which they were not prepared to discuss. We therefore had no other alternative but to go to appeal and we requested a public hearing. We teamed up our very experienced planning team, with a top London based barrister.
At the end of a hard fought two-day hearing our persistence was rewarded and Bracken Group won the appeal. The site has been sold to a very experienced local operator backed by AIG and the building is now well under construction - due to be completed in the autumn of 2019.