Debate over housing near Sugar continues

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Photograph: Sakib Rahman

Student housing near Lancaster’s most popular club, The Sugarhouse, is still being debated.

Last year, submitted plans for a student village caused controversy throughout LUSU as the plans could threaten The Sugarhouse and Lancaster nightlife.

The property proposal by City Block earlier this year planned to transform the Gillows building, previously home to Mojo nightclub, into the student flats. But the LUSU owned Sugarhouse is situated to the rear of the Grade II listed building which LUSU believe will result in unacceptable noise levels and complaints for future tenants of the building.

Established in 1982, the 1,300 capacity of The Sugarhouse has become Lancaster’s most popular student nightclub and is packed with a full calendar of events and guest acts for students.

However, Lancaster has seen a growth in the property and lettings market with the increase in students from both Lancaster University and the University of Cumbria. The recent influx of students in higher education has increased the scope of the housing market, meaning that plans for student flats near the university’s favourite nightclub are still under current debate.

This term, however, recent plans for a student village, set to house over 630 students, have caught LUSU’s attention. The plans include 125 studio flats, 50 cluster flats, and 19 shared townhouses, with an 11-storey curved glass fronted building opposite what is currently Dana Hand Car Wash in Caton Road.

Also, plans have been submitted to convert former Lancaster City Council offices in St Leonard’s Gate into student accommodation. A plan that LUSU believes could lead to “closure of the club as a result of noise complaints from nearby tenants.”

Union Vice President Union Development Sophie Tarif said: “We know how important the Sugarhouse is to students and to the city, and it’s vital that we work together to stop a development that will harm the student experience that Lancaster offers.”

“Sugar is essential to Lancaster as it feeds a number of other businesses that form part of the night time economy including bars, taxi firms and eating establishments.”

Although these plans are not located as close as to The Sugarhouse as last terms, there is still frequent concerns of similar issues.

On October 2, LUSU released a petition ‘Student help needed to block flats plan,’ asking students to support the cause, in fear that the location of the proposed flats will lead to restrictions being placed on The Sugarhouse that could impact nightlife and damage the night-time economy of Lancaster.

Sophie Tarif added that: “We really hope as many students as possible will take a couple of minutes to help us stop this development.”

“I’d also like to thank students who are going through this process again – the success of getting almost 1,000 objections to the last proposed development has definitely impacted the proposal moving forward!”

Students can get involved by going to www.lusu.co.uk/articles/student-help-needed-to-block-flats-plan