179 Views

‘Studentification’ threatens local communities

Students blight the Lewes Road area of Brighton

Students blight the Lewes Road area of Brighton

The government announced plans last week to reduce the adverse effects of densely-populated student areas in university towns.

Increasing concentrations of students living in select areas, close to university campuses, are driving out low-income families from affordable housing and causing notable changes in local communities.

The report, from Housing and Planning minister Caroline Flint, outlines ways universities and town councils can work together to reduce the number of HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation) in certain areas. An HMO is defined as an entire house or flat which is let to three or more tenants who form two or more households.

A large number of students live in HMOs, often of poor quality, to save money and to be in a practical location for travelling to and from university. These houses, which may otherwise have been let to low-income families, are often bought by landlords to let to the student market.

Student numbers have been rising at a faster rate than universities can provide accommodation and this problem has given students no choice but to turn to the private sector. A recent study by Brighton and Hove City Council found that nearly two-thirds of Brighton University students and half of Sussex students live in privately managed accommodation.

The areas most affected by high student populations are Lewes Road, Upper Lewes Road, Coombe Road, Hartington Road and Bevendean.

Increased numbers of students in a small area can lead to the closure of local amenities such as schools and churches. A primary school in Coombe Road has seen the yearly intake halve as a result of the changing
demographic of the area. A large number of students in a neighbourhood can also lead to social problems. Locals have complained about noise late at night, changes in local shops (more takeaways, off-licences) and an increase in litter which attracts seagulls and rats.

Another problem is that houses are often left empty during long summer breaks which can give rise to crime. Caroline Flint says that “it is not acceptable that current rental practices allow unplanned student enclaves to evolve to such an extent that local communities are left living as ghost towns following the summer student exodus.”

However, students also bring many advantages to a region. In Brighton, students spend over £250 million each year and it is estimated that 5,000 jobs depend upon the student populace. Student volunteering schemes such as Project V also provide an important way of improving relations between the university and the local community.

Adam Farrell, University of Sussex Student Union (USSU) Education officer, states that “a lot of the complaints
that are directed towards students are issues such as littering or poorly maintained front of houses. These are, a lot of the time, due to landlords failing to take responsibility and taking shortcuts on maintenance. Whilst this is the conduct of some estate agents and not all, more has to be done by the University and the council to stop bad practice.”

USSU Welfare officer, Richa Kaul-Padte, adds that “perceptions of students in the local community are often exaggerated, with a general group of young people between the age of 19 and 25 being classed as ‘students.’ The union recognises that there are a variety of problems in local neighbourhoods that students may contribute to, and I think that a growing engagement with the local community, not only throug volunteering schemes but with an active student participation in council meetings etc. will allow us to work together with the community to change not only perceptions, but conditions.”

The government report also encourages universities to provide more purpose-built student accommodation.
The University has recently applied for planning permission for the construction of a new accommodation block, due to commence in 2010. The plans are to use land at the north end of campus to create new residences while a redevelopment of East Slope is planned for 2011. Although this aims to house all first year students it still does not account for all the second and third year students who need to seek housing in the private sector.

A green paper is due to be put to parliament later this year detailing more specific plans of action.

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
505 views1
Campus News
505 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series
Arts
41 views
Arts
41 views

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - June 17, 2018

Pictured: Zac Black At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve…

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review
Arts
85 views
Arts
85 views

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review

Florence Dutton - June 11, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Last Monday at 8pm at Brighton’s The Old Market, I sat myself down in my theatre seat eagerly awaiting…

Fleabag preview
Arts
88 views
Arts
88 views

Fleabag preview

Florence Dutton - June 2, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Following the mass success of the Bafta award-winning BBC Series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre are about to hit the…

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome
Arts
112 views
Arts
112 views

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome

Georgia Grace - June 1, 2018

Having completed my final semester of university with modules on punk history and queer arts, it was fitting that I rounded off my end-of-assessment celebrations by attending…

Arts
132 views

The Tempest review

Georgia Grace - May 30, 2018

As the sun begins to set over Hove Green, tinnies of Red Stripe are cracked open, tartan blankets are strewn, and families tuck into their picnic hampers.…

A Glass Half Empty review
Arts
145 views
Arts
145 views

A Glass Half Empty review

Georgia Grace - May 27, 2018

For those of us coming to the end of another year of university study, the prospect of careers, marriages and babies may seem a long way off.…

DollyWould at The Old Market review
Arts
138 views
Arts
138 views

DollyWould at The Old Market review

Alex Hutson - May 27, 2018

Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music.…

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex
Campus News
218 views
Campus News
218 views

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex

Billie-Jean Johnson - May 26, 2018

The Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a petition calling for Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to end the 'hostile environment' at Sussex. The…

Arts
102 views

Shakespeare in the sun – The Tempest preview

Georgia Grace - May 24, 2018

In a world of dystopian King Lears and female Hamlets, Shakespeare’s classics are constantly being reimagined for the modern day. There’s something oddly refreshing then about the…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
204 views
Arts
204 views

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 23, 2018

What a phenomenal contrast these two films present when watched side-by-side. In essence, together they are capable of tracing inner and outer metamorphoses of their subjects. The…

Dollywould at The Old Market preview
Arts
134 views
Arts
134 views

Dollywould at The Old Market preview

Alex Hutson - May 22, 2018

From the 22nd May - 25th May 2018 DollyWould will be showing at The Old Market. An exciting new show, presented by Sh!t Theatre, who won the…

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu
Artist Focus
210 views
Artist Focus
210 views

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - May 16, 2018

Last week artist Fedilou made her debut exhibition in the downstairs space of Morelli Zorelli, a quaint vegan Italian restaurant in Hove, featuring a collection of intimate…

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley
Interview
144 views
Interview
144 views

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley

Nikolaos Manesis - May 15, 2018

Ron Chrisley is a Reader in Philosophy, on the faculty of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, and is the director of COGS (Centre for Cognitive Science).…

Adam review
Arts
212 views
Arts
212 views

Adam review

Ketan Jha - May 13, 2018

If you have been a stranger to the stage this spring and decide to see one contemporary show, let it be Adam. This reviewer went in entirely…

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
235 views
Arts
235 views

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 13, 2018

In celebration of iconic Brighton local, legendary alt-rock musician (and episodic actor) Nick Cave, TOM’s Film Club are hosting a double-bill screening of his films at The…

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review
Arts
273 views
Arts
273 views

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review

Georgia Grace - May 11, 2018

Meta-theatricality and interactivity are becoming all the more vogue in contemporary theatre, and in a world where the arts are becoming increasingly open and democratised, I find…

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks
Artist Focus
189 views
Artist Focus
189 views

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks

Alex Leissle - May 9, 2018

  [gallery type="slideshow" ids="35385,35386,35387,35388,35389,35390,35391,35392,35393,35394,35395,35396,35397,35398,35399,35400,35401,35402,35403,35404,35405,35406,35407,35408,35409,35410,35411"]

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival
Books
196 views
Books
196 views

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival

William Singh - May 9, 2018

Afua Hirsch’s 2018 book - part memoir, part polemic - provokes mixed feelings. So too did her discussion of the topic at this year’s Brighton Festival. Don’t…

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality
Science
250 views
Science
250 views

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality

Luke Richards - May 8, 2018

Bioweapons exist, while ethnic-bioweapons are whispered conspiracies. Pandemics can fairly hazardous to human life, the 1918 Flu Pandemic killed 20-50 million people. A man made pandemic could…

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced
News
260 views
News
260 views

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced

Jessica Hubbard - May 4, 2018

Students have voted to support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, reject Prevent and adopt new Gender Equality policies. Results for the Students' Union referenda were…