RESIDENTS are warning that ‘studentification’ of their neighbourhood has now reached its peak.

Coombe Road Local Action Team (LAT) has raised concerns about the £42 million conversion of a former pub into more than 200 student flats and the University of Brighton’s £150 million plans for Preston Barracks.

The group has warned plans to convert The Lectern in Lewes Road, Brighton, will also signal the loss of more community facilities in an area highly saturated with purpose-built student accommodation and houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

Developer CKC Properties says its plans will help fill a shortage of purpose-built student accommodation in the city and would reduce the need for shared homes, allowing them to be returned to family housing.

The Lectern shut in 2015 but residents managed to gain community asset status more than a year ago in a bid to try and salvage the pub but were unsuccessful in buying the property.

It was ransacked by squatters in January 2016 who were later removed in a major police operation.

Under proposed development plans, the neighbouring Costcutter store will also be converted into student housing.

If granted planning permission, it will become the latest significant student accommodation block around the Vogue Gyratory which has also seen around 100 new flats built on the site of the former White Crow pub and a former car wash near The Gladstone pub.

The Lewes Road corridor is the most popular off-campus area for the 28,000 students at the city’s universities because of its proximity to the University of Brighton’s Moulsecoomb campus and its good transport links to the University of Sussex Falmer campus.

Coombe Road LAT chairwoman Rebecca Barkaway questioned whether the Lewes Road area really needed, or could cope with, another 228 student flats.

Nick Scott is development director at CKC Properties which is acting on behalf of New Leaf investments and Burlington properties which are behind The Lectern proposals.

CKC has previously been involved in similar student accommodation projects for 89 flats in Kingston and for 109 flats in Durham with another 1,000 student flats in the pipeline.

He said: “We are still putting our plans together but we feel that the Brighton area is under supplied as a lot of students live in HMO accommodation

“It’s a massive investment and we feel it is good news for anyone who lives around there.”