Land occupied by one of Birmingham’s best known furniture stores could be transformed into a 20-storey student accommodation tower block.
Lee Longlands wants to build a high-rise structure on its city centre Broad Street site. The three-storey store, which is in a 1930s art deco design, would remain intact.
Lee Longlands is putting forward two alternatives for the land and an adjoining car park on the corner of Broad Street and Granville Street.
The tower and a second building could be used to provide 466 student bedrooms, or turned into a hotel with 445 bedrooms.
But the proposal triggered objections from people living in nearby apartments, who claim the students will be responsible for noise, anti-social behaviour, vandalism and falling property prices.
They say the site is unsuitable because it is not close to any of the city’s universities or colleges.
One objector described student accommodation as “the wrong sort of development” and urged a higher class of use for Broad Street.
The application is the latest proposal for a tower block on Birmingham’s entertainment “Golden Mile”.
Land next to the furniture store has planning permission for the 40-storey Richardson Tower, while a site on the opposite side of the road is earmarked for the 56-storey Regal Tower, which will be Birmingham’s tallest building.
The Lee Longlands application is likely to be approved by the city planning committee.
Planning officer Neal Allcock said a possible drop in the value of nearby flats was not a matter that the committee could take into consideration.
He pointed out that there are 50,000 students requiring accommodation in Birmingham, and the figure is expected to rise sharply.
Mr Allcock said: “A condition regarding management strategy for student accommodation, including concierge and refuse facilities, would ensure that the accommodation is appropriately managed.”
He added that students could easily travel from Broad Street to colleges either by bicycle or public transport.