Council move to prevent rise in student “ghettos”

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Southampton councillors are expected to approve a bill which will minimise the growth of communities formed of student housing, it has been reported today.

Article 4 Direction, to be implemented in March, will mean that planning permission will be required for houses shared by at least three residents of whom none are relations.

Areas such as Portswood have sparked concern as non-student residents are unhappy with the noise pollution and anti-social behaviour that a high volume of students bring to the neighbourhood; the article aims to tackle some of these issues.

Councillor Matthew Dean said: “We want Southampton to be a place which embraces diversity but also one in which families can enjoy living.”

However, there has been debate as to whether the plans will do anything to change the situation.

A second year psychology student said: “I can’t see that this will make any difference to the fundamental problems associated with students. Reducing the number of student houses does not teach those that are left to behave responsibly and respect the community.”

Others have expressed concern that the article will place even more pressure on a housing system in which demand is often greater than supply. The Southern Landlords Association has suggested that these restrictions may force landlords to consider converting shared homes into flats.

Moves such as these could mean that students face increased difficulty when securing a property following their time in university accommodation.

The Wessex Scene spoke to a student of History and Archaeology who said: “I’m not particularly worried. At the end of the day students need somewhere to live and if article 4 makes it impossible for us to find housing, then SUSU and the council will have to make changes.”

The move against HMOs (Houses of Multiple Occupancy) comes at a time when student housing is high on SUSU’s agenda. Housing week 2012 will take place in February in a bid to raise awareness of common misconceptions surrounding contracts, rent and letting agents.

For more information on student housing before then, students can read the Wessex Scene’s housing features in the December issue of the magazine.

 

 

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Discussion10 Comments

  1. avatar

    Matthew Dean is not a councillor.

    Emma
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    Please see ‘local government Councillor’ on his description on his blog: http://mattdeansoton.blogspot.com/ – only following what he calls himself.

    Ed
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    The last post on that website was about 18 months ago. He isn’t a councillor as of last May.

    http://www.southampton.gov.uk/council-partners/councillorsrepresent/ctycouncillors/listofcouncillors.aspx

    Ed
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    …as in May 2011.

  2. avatar

    As clear as it is that there are student dense pockets in Southampton, I wonder where it is the council expect the students to go by making these restrictions. There will still be the same number of students within Southampton, they won’t simply vanish over night. I’d also question what kind of impact they expect this changes to realistically make on noise pollution and anti-social behaviour in the city, given that students are hardly the sole culprits in both these cases. Shouldn’t the council be focusing more on issues such as reducing violent crime in the city and making it safer for all residents at night rather than scapegoating students into a problem group that needs to be dealt with?

  3. avatar

    This seems a slightly flawed policy in that it will just spread student noise and anti-social behavior around the whole city. Surely you want students concentrated in one area to keep it localised?

  4. avatar

    Maybe if there were some sort of regulation to stop landlords letting out sub-standard housing to students at extortionate prices we would go some way to finding a solution. Its pretty hard to respect where you live if where you live is dark, filthy and saturated with damp and mould.

    Chloe
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    here here

  5. avatar

    A slightly self-defeating proposal from the Council. There are businesses that rely on concentrations of students living in particular areas of the city. The student population as a whole makes a massive contribution to the local economy and, therefore, a less hostile attitude wouldn’t go amiss. Landlords who let rooms in HMOs will see their income drop, unless they can stump up the money to convert to flats. Several former Southampton students are councilors; maybe SUSU could lobby them to see if this misguided proposal can be withdrawn.

  6. avatar

    The town-and-gown divide in this city gets bigger every day.

    It’s an unfortunate fact that a large percentage of local residents have a negative perception of students from this University, who have a reputation for being arrogant and inconsiderate. The more students insist on a cliched ‘student experience’, the more local residents will fight against students moving into their areas.

    Can’t say I blame them.

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