Plans to develop a 49-bedroom student accommodation unit in Bayhead have been knocked back by councillors.

The Environment and Protective Services committee today approved a recommendation to refuse the application on the semi derelict site previously occupied by Stag Bakery.

The applicants were Cityheart Parkers Court, Shipgate Street, Chester, who proposed the erection of a 49-bedroom student accommodation unit for the University of the Highlands & Highlands (UHI).

The building comprised 45 en-suite bedrooms arranged in six bedroom cluster flats and four studio flats. 

A report before councillors stated that the the proposed design was contemporary in style, would be four storeys in height, with a flat roof. 

The fourth floor element stepped in from the Bayhead, Stag Road and the eastern boundary. 

The main entrance to the building was from Bayhead, adjacent to the Hebridean Guest House and recessed from the existing building line. 

To the south of this, also fronting Bayhead, was a brick enclosed compound proposed for the storage of refuse bins and the provision of cycle storage.

The whole site was currently taken up with the vacant buildings previously occupied by Stag Bakery. 

It was proposed that all the existing buildings be demolished and this new building be erected abutting the edge of the pavement and utilising almost all of the available site area for the building.

The report stated: “Having assessed the proposed development against the relevant policies of the Local Development Plan it is considered that the proposals are not in compliance with the Outer Hebrides Local Development Plan. 

“The principal reasons are design, scale, form, mass, assessed to not contribute positively to the character of the surrounding area or neighbouring Conservation Area, and overlooking and overshadowing of neighbouring gardens with resultant negative impact on their amenity.”

Councillor Rae Mackenzie said that it was desirable to encourage Lews Castle College to expand and to encourage students to study in Stornoway. 

However, he felt that this was ‘the wrong site for the requirements suggested’.

“I would have thought there would be the case for a campus-style site,” he said.

“There are other sites which will be more suitable and I hope they can be found.”

Convener Norman A. Macdonald said he failed to see how anyone could be satisfied with the size and site of the proposal, but added that the issue of student accommodation was something that needed to be addressed.

Cllr Ali Maclennan added: “There are valid reasons for refusing this. 

“It’s too big for this location.”

Councillors approved the recommendation to refuse planning permission. 

The proposed accommodation unit on Bayhead