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20 March 2019
With a new block of student flats near Plymouth failing fire safety tests, it has been agreed that an external fire escape can be fitted to bring the building in line with regulation.
Councillors were told that building regulations meant the block had to have a “secondary means of escape” but the original design only had one internal staircase.
Despite the proposal being agreed, due to noise concerns, Councillors gave authority to the director of planning to refuse permission if there is no agreement on how to restrict the use of the new stairway to emergencies only.
The block itself was refused by Plymouth City Council planners in September 2015 but later allowed by an inspector after an appeal.
Changes to the original building plans were made, and there were 21 objections to these, including about the effect of the building on neighbours.
One described the fire escape as ugly and argued it would increase the size of the building which was “out-of-character” for the area.
Planning consultant Faye Stewart, on behalf of the applicant, said the request was for minor amendments, including to comply with building regulations relating to fire safety.
She said the design changes did not alter the main form, mass or scale of the building and the proposal would bring significant benefits to the community.