People power looks set to have won the day in Exeter with the City Council taking onboard residents' views on where student housing is located in the city.
The City Council is set to extend restrictions on houses in multiple occupation, such as shared student houses, to additional areas of Duryard, Newtown, and Pennsylvania wards, as a direct response to requests from residents. A recent consultation exercise resulted in about 140 comments in support and only two expressions of concern.
Council Leader Pete Edwards, said: "This shows local residents and groups can influence decisions. Residents lobbied for further restrictions and the Council consulted and put them in place."
The Council has applied restrictions on Houses in Multiple Occupation in areas such as St James ward, where more than a quarter of homes are shared student houses, since 2008, and taken steps to remove 'Permitted Development' rights for this use.
Over recent years there has been a growth in the number of students in Exeter due to the success of the University. There were about 10,900 full time equivalent students In October 2006. This increased to about 15,000 by October 2010. The number of shared student houses increased over this period from about 1,200 to about 2,000.
The Council has positively encouraged the provision of more purpose-built student accommodation to reduce pressure in the housing market and imbalance in communities. About 4,100 additional purpose built student bedspaces have now been provided between 2006 and October 2013. A survey last May showed the first reduction in shared student houses since 2006, mainly in areas such as Polsloe that are further from campuses.
Richard Short, Assistant Director City Development, said: "The continued success of the University is great news for the city. It does plan to continue to expand to about 18,000 students over the next few years so we do need to continue to encourage the provision of more purpose built accommodation in appropriate locations and monitor and address the impacts on our communities."
The proposals to roll the restrictions out to Duryard, Newtown and Pennsylvania will go before the City Council Executive on 21 January.
For more information contact Steve Upsher, Communications Officer, on 01392 265103.
Member since: 10th July 2012
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