Complaints prompt city review of accommodation for students

A REVIEW of student housing is to be undertaken in a Yorkshire city amid growing concerns over the number of homes being converted into accommodation for undergraduates.

York Council is considering carrying out the study to analyse the impact of student properties across the city after complaints about fly-tipping and anti-social social behaviour.

Some city neighbourhoods heavily populated by students, including Heslington and Fulford, have been blighted by illegally dumped rubbish and drunken behaviour.

Research already undertaken has revealed that there are currently an estimated 864 student properties across the city, compared with 409 in 2000. Some areas have seen a six-fold increase in the number of student properties in the last decade.

New national legislation has been drawn up which means orders have to be enforced to ensure planning permission is needed within a designated area before a domestic property can be converted into a house in multiple occupation (HMO).

However, council officials have recommended that a major review is carried out in York before the authority opts to instigate the so-called Article Four Directions.

A focus group is expected to be launched in the New Year to hold discussions with residents and students as well as parish and ward councillors about the impact that HMOs are having on neighbourhoods.

Plans are also being considered to set up an online survey which would be emailed to students to glean information about the quality of accommodation of offer, rental prices and their preferred areas to live.

The Yorkshire Post revealed last month that the council had linked with York University's students' union in a campaign to get under-graduates to take more pride in their neighbourhoods by joining in with community projects.

Council officials and police officers have called at properties to ensure student tenants are familiar with the waste arrangements for their streets as well as offering home security advice.

Proposals for the student accommodation review will be discussed by members of York Council's local development framework working group on Monday, January 10.