Fringe Box



Letter: Restrict Off-Campus Student Accommodation To Save The Green Belt

Published on: 21 Dec, 2013
Updated on: 21 Dec, 2013

Town & GownFrom Bernard Parke

Hon Alderman

Guildford is now a university town. So are Oxford and Manchester, and like both of these cities we are experiencing problems, such as the loss affordable housing.

This is mainly due to the trend of making affordable homes into houses of multiple occupation or “HMOs”. Such properties are little more than student dormitories.

Oxford and Manchester have cited, in different reports, the following problems in addition to the loss of family homes.

1) Anti-social behaviour, noise and nuisance

2) Imbalanced and unsustainable commutes

3) Negative impacts on the physical environment and street-scape

4) Pressure upon parking provision

5) Increased crime

6) The growth in private rented sector at the expense of owner-occupation

7) Pressure upon local community facilities

8) Restructuring of retail , commercial services and recreational facilities to suit the lifestyle of the predominant population.

9) The inflationary pressure on houses due to high prices landlords can pay compared with families

10) Lack of care/maintenance front and back gardens

HMOs, where all the tenants are students, are not liable for council tax.

Apparently, according to an article in The Times, even The London Borough of Newham are able to charge the sum of £500 for every new let in HMOs.

Some might say that we are neither Oxford of Manchester but surely many of these issues are not unknown to our residents too.

If Manchester and Oxford can make plans to counteract the above problems why can’t we, in Guildford?

By placing restrictions on HMOs there would be more family homes available which in turn would help to relieve pressure on our treasured green belt.

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Responses to Letter: Restrict Off-Campus Student Accommodation To Save The Green Belt

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    December 21, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Apparently the university is short of 6000 accommodation places for their students who have to lodge in ‘digs’ in town. If the university built accommodation blocks instead of their garden suburb it would free up approximately 2000 low or reasonably priced homes for those who need them.

    So I totally agree with the Alderman – sort the student accommodation out and save the greenbelt.

  2. Robert Burch Reply

    December 21, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Well said Bernard!
    For those who would like to read more on this, see my opinion piece on the impact the new vet school will have on University accommodation:

    The approach Oxford City Council have taken to controlling the impact of students on permanent residents is here:

  3. Kathryn Waring Reply

    December 22, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    Houses of multiple occupants account for over 33% of the 3 bedroom homes in my road.

    These homes can house sometimes up to 6 students. That equates to about 30 family homes and also 30 homes that the council is not collecting any tax from.

    Mr Parke you are spot on. And in my experience, all 10 points apply.

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