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Truro: Old County Hall to be converted to student housing

clock iconCreated At:20 June, 2023
write iconCreated By:Passant Mohamed

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The former headquarters of Cornwall Counci, which was empty for 10 years, will be converted into student accommodation, if the council granted the approval for this decision.

The council is evaluating the decision and, if approved, the building will be providing 83 beds for students of Falmouth University and the University of Exeter.

Plans to convert the early 20th-century, Grade II listed Old County Hall into 17 "cluster units" of student housing have been submitted by CAD Architects on behalf of applicant Peter Woods of OCH Residential Truro Limited.

Falmouth Exeter Plus (FXPlus), the organisation that manages and delivers services at the Falmouth, Penryn, and Truro campuses, would manage and deliver these units to students. Additionally, there would be 18 spaces for parking and amenities.

According to the application, “The proposal is to convert Old County Hall into student accommodation in a sustainable urban location – and this use will safeguard the future of the currently vacant property which is a valuable heritage asset.

“There is now an increasing need for dedicated student accommodation in the Truro area, due to the growth of both Falmouth and Exeter universities, which are now expanding outwards from the Falmouth/Penryn area.

"Rising student housing need in the Truro vicinity includes both the intended relocation of elements of Falmouth University to the Pydar Street redevelopment and the already existing need to accommodate medical students in Truro due to the increasing capacity of the University of Exeter Medical School and the proximity of the Knowledge Spa medical school at the nearby Royal Cornwall Hospital at Treliske.”

The reconstruction of the coach house and the building of the 12 brand-new apartments, now known as Assay House, have both been completed to date. Acorn Blue also submitted further planning and listed building applications in 2021, which are now pending decision and call for the redevelopment of Old County Hall into 34 apartments.

According to the application, “Our proposed conversion seeks simply to restore the external appearance of Old County Hall to its original grandeur, without the need for any significant external interventions to the façade. Furthermore, the council chamber itself will return to its original domed glory for student social/amenity and curriculum use – accessed via the striking Edwardian entrance staircase rising from the portico entrance on Station Road.”

The single student bedrooms would be put in clusters of five- and six-bed units, each with a dedicated kitchen/living room and bathroom/en-suite facilities. This "will enable the proposed provider, FXPlus, an amount of financial flexibility in setting the rent brackets for different types of bedrooms and associated facilities," according to the proposal.

The application specifies that the development will "without a doubt, preserve and enhance the character of this important listed building - along with the appearance of the conservation area - and safeguard the future of this significant heritage asset, ensuring its long-term viability and its presence as an iconic building in Truro's streetscape."



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