Riverside House Hotel, Cirencester now student accommodation

NEIGHBOURS have raised concerns after a Cirencester hotel was turned into student accommodation at short notice.

Twenty Royal Agricultural College students moved into the Riverside House Hotel, which is located on Watermoor Road, on Sunday.

Residents on the road received a letter notifying them of the change at the hotel, which formerly provided accommodation for Mitsubishi visitors and workers, on Monday.

In the letter, Teresa North, the college’s director of commercial services and facilities, apologised for the short notice, but said that the “agreement did not come into fruition until Friday, September 10”.

She went on to invite residents to a meeting to discuss the situation, on Monday night.

Lisa Cook, who lives by the hotel, said that she had concerns over noise and rowdy behaviour from the students, and also the additional burden on the limited parking in the street.

She also said she would have preferred to be consulted before the students had moved in.

Bryher Grimes, spokeswoman for the RAU, said: “We fully understand local resident’s concerns, and for that reason we held a meeting on Monday night, to meet up, answer questions and offer reassurance.

“Thirty people came along and we agreed to hold a second meeting in a month’s time to see how everything is going.

“And we have set up a comms group with the residents, so if there are any issues they can easily get in touch.”

Ms Grimes added that the students had been allocated 12 off road parking spaces, had a shuttle bus to the college, and would not be using any of the parking spots used by residents.

Town councillors Rebecca Halifax and Nick Bridges both attended the meeting.

Cllr Halifax said: “We’re happy that the unused building is being brought back into use and is giving some hard working young people secure, well managed accommodation with responsible landlords.

“There are no planning issues that are of concern, and it is always good to see empty accommodation being used for its intended purpose.”

Cllr Bridges said: “The university will be organising a follow-up meeting in a month’s time and l hope – and expect – that we will find that there has been no anti-social behaviour, but if so we can can discuss it then.

“Over the last last decade the university has worked hard to improve the relationship between students and residents but sadly a bad reputation takes a long time to lose.”

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