Councillors try to control student housing with new rules
By Simon Thompson
Councillors have slammed the brakes on new student housing in a university city after pressure from residents and community groups against more building.
Leicester City Council has lifted a six-month ban on student flat developments - only to impose a raft new restrictions on landlords and developers.
The council wants to take control of the size and scale of student housing in the city.
From June 12, 2012, builders and landlords will have to show their developments meet four key criteria:
• They must be within a 800 metres walk of one of the city’s two universities - the University of Leicester or De Montfort University
• Developers must prove a need for the accommodation
• The building or conversion must meet the council’s design standards
• The project must provide a benefit
The council’s student housing policy was drawn up with the support of universities and community groups.
Mayor Peter Soulsby said: "People have made it clear to us that they have concerns about the number and scale of student housing developments.
"This planning guidance will help us to ensure that any proposals for new student housing are needed, appropriate in size and scale and directed towards suitable locations within the city."
The new rules will let councillors reject plans for new housing in neighbourhoods already considered overcrowded with student accommodation.
The council is also considering implementing an article 4 ban on new small houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) for three to five students sharing a house.
Around 40 other councils have either started or given notice they intend to start an article 4 ban which stops a landlord opening a small HMO without planning permission.
Most of the councils with an article 4 HMO ban are university towns or cities, like Oxford, Southampton, Manchester and Newcastle upon Tyne.
Over the last 20 years, AFS has been the home of student accommodation.
Throughout this period we have always offered the full range of student
accommodation and featured over 200,000 student houses on the site in every
University City in the UK.
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