Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has granted approval for part of the student accommodation scheme at the former Comet Hotel in Hatfield to be temporarily used as serviced apartments in the coming academic year.
Fusion Students redeveloped part of the Grade II listed Art Deco hotel site back in 2017 to create 7,000 square metres of managed student flats, state-of-the-art social spaces including study areas for all learning styles, a private dining room and huge outdoor space.
Following the uncertainty around student numbers for the new academic year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fusion Students took the decision to temporarily diversify the building’s use by opening up part of the student accommodation to young professionals in a bid to minimise any financial losses and make use of the accommodation and facilities.
In April of this year our Planning, Development & Regeneration team, acting on behalf of Fusion Students sought approval to temporarily use some of the student flats as serviced apartments during the 2020/21 academic year period. Planning permission was granted for just 14 months, and will expire on 30th September 2021. After which time the take up of student places at University is likely to have increased.
Lester Hotels, which already operates the 65 bed Comet Hotel, would manage the proposed serviced apartments, with guests staying in the serviced accommodation and benefitting from first class accommodation, a 24 hour concierge and the support facilities offered by Fusion.
Alan Pearce, Head of Planning, Development and Regeneration in Bristol, commented:
“The uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 crisis make it impossible to forecast student numbers for the coming year.
“The change of use consent provides our client with the flexibility needed at this time and is sensible business planning to make use of what is an exemplary development.”
Adam Cohen at Fusion Students commented:
“This temporary change of use allows us to support and provide accommodation for young professions in the local area who have recently graduated, as well as key workers and university staff should their live-in accommodation be impacted. That said our student bookings have held up unbelievably well, notwithstanding the challenging times, which is a testament to our team, our hard work and our wonderful accommodation.”
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