Bath has one of the highest concentrations of students of any city in England. On the one hand this brings vibrancy, jobs and prosperity into the City but on the other with the buy to let method of housing students whole swathes of affordable family housing has been taken over by students.
We have been camopaigning on several fronts.
1. To pursuade the two universities to build more student accomodation on campus
2. To pursuade the government on the need for better HMO class orders
3. To get the government to recognize that new student accomodation should at least partially count towards the RSS housing numbers. At present all student accomodation we build is completely ignored by government. How absurd is that when they are looking to cram ever more houses all over the place?
Anyway our campaigns are starting to win the arguement with government.
For immediate release: Tuesday, 30 September 2008
Government “finally” takes action on studentification
Liberal Democrats in Bath are welcoming news that the Government is finally to give Councils the tools to tackle the issue of high concentrations of student houses or ‘Houses in Multiple Occupation” (HMOs) in specific areas of their authorities.
Councillor Shaun McGall (Oldfield) has been campaigning on this issue for a long time. He commented:
“I’m really pleased that the Government is finally beginning to respond to the combined pressure from local residents, Councillors and MPs from across the country who have been lobbying for action to tackle ‘studentification’.
“Councils need the substantive tools to address the development and growth of large clusters of HMOs in University towns and cities – as in Oldfield Park in Bath for example – through the planning system. The Government’s suggestion of allowing local Councils to use planning restraint policies and ‘Use Class Orders’ to control concentrations of HMOs and to help create more balanced, sustainable communities is therefore to be welcomed
“The Government is also looking at a range of parallel strategies for Councils to address community issues such as parking and waste. Some of these are already in place in Bath – such as the landlord accreditation scheme – and some have been tried in the past. B&NES was ahead of its time in setting up the Student Liaison Committee in 2003 to work with the Universities and the student’s union to improve town and gown relations, although its public engagement meetings and budget were cut by the new administration.”
Bath MP Don Foster added:
“I would like to thank those local residents and residents’ associations from Bath who have worked with us and have responded to the Government’s review on privately rented housing. Without their persistence over the years we wouldn’t have got this far.
“As this report is only a first step on a road which could lead to legislative changes work needs to continue to persuade the Government to give Councils the real powers they need to address ‘studentification’. We look forward to seeing a Green Paper in due course.”
Councillor Shaun McGall: 07917 414 382
Don Foster MP: 01225 338973
Notes to editors:
- Press release from the Department of Communities and Local Government: http://www.communities.gov.uk/news/corporate/977551
- Report on possible planning responses: http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/evidencegatheringresearch