A SCHEME for a nine-storey hall of residence for 189 students, across the street from another major student housing development, was approved last night.

The project at Pelham Terrace, in Lewes Road, Brighton, will transform the site of the disused Lectern pub into a tower block with a community centre on the ground floor and private flats on the top two floors.

After a lengthy debate, city councillors voted nine to one in favour of the scheme, which will be directly opposite the Preston Barracks development approved earlier this year to house 1,300 students.

Residents living nearby who are part of the Coombe Road Local Action Team have repeatedly raised concerns about the conversion as well as the University of Brighton’s development of Preston Barracks into student accommodation.

At Hove Town Hall last night, Labour Councillor Tracey Hill said: “As a city we are chronically short of purpose built student housing.

“There’s been doubt over whether this will reduce the number of HMO [houses in multiple occupation] and the reality is the number probably won’t reduce.

“But future demand should be lessened and alleviated by more student housing.”

Green Councillor Leo Littman said the scheme showed a lot of “very good ideas” but had environmental concerns.

The scheme calls for the removal of several trees with the only mitigation being green walls and planting on the terraces of the new block.

Cllr Littman said: “I wonder how we’ve come to the position where we think planting on roofs can mitigate the loss of trees, given their impact on carbon capture and biodiversity.”

Labour Councillor Adrian Morris was so impressed with the specification of the proposed student rooms he joked he was considering enrolling as a mature student.

The Pelham site will include non-student accommodation in the form of one one-bedroom home and four two-bedroom homes. Roof terrace areas are proposed for the first, sixth and eighth floors.

Twenty three letters of objection were received, stressing that in addition to the loss of the pub and the influx of more students, student housing does not reduce student populations in nearby HMOs.

The developer CKC Properties will pay a further £370,000 towards green spaces and transport links.