LENTON COMMUNITY IMBALANCE AT CRISIS POINT:
But "... Thousands More Student Bedrooms Needed ..."
Nottingham Post Local Democracy Reporter, writing on Friday 20 December 2019, reported on the decision by the City Council's Planning Committee to approve plans for a 222-bed student accommodation block on Radmarsh Road (see Application Submitted for Additional Student Accommodation on Radmarsh Road)
Huge New Student Block Approved in Lenton Despite Councillor's Impassioned Plea
"What's already a complete and total unmanaged community imbalance is accelerating to a level that is totally unsustainable."
A new 222-bed block of student accommodation will be built right on the edge of the residential part of Lenton, despite the councillor for the area making a desperate plea for it to be rejected.
He said students were creating a wide range of antisocial behaviour in the area, and pointed out that at one school almost every pupil had had their sleep disturbed by noisy revellers.
At the same city council planning meeting, another 703-bed student block was approved, only around 500 yards away at Deakins Place, near the Lidl on Wollaton Road.
Labour councillor Dave Trimble does not sit on the committee, but came to the meeting specially to ask that the plan be rejected.
He said: “The imbalance in the community I think is already at crisis point.
“Noisy parties are already a problem, there is a serious problem with pre-loading with alcohol before going out, 10 o’clock to 12 o’clock, make their way into town lots and lots of noise on the way in, waking up people including schoolchildren, then waking people again as they head home when the clubs close at 4.
“This causes serious problems in the area. So much so that both universities contribute £30,000 a year for community protection officers to keep the peace on the street.
“In the last academic year there were 1,353 community protection notices for noise, as well as 1,124 street alcohol confiscations, even though these are not always recorded.
“On one night alone, a special operation by community protection officers (CPOs) issued 315 street alcohol confiscations in a matter of a couple of hours.
“So this is an area that already has a massive overconcentration of students, creating a huge community imbalance.
“The Radmarsh Road application here is for 222 beds. It is to be followed by a Unite scheme of about 680 beds, right next door to it.
“And right next to that, almost touching it, there’s a pre-application in for 280 beds, nearly 1,200 bed spaces (in total).
“We’ve been told for years that purpose-built accommodation will take students out of family houses and HMOs will return to family accommodation.
“It doesn’t - and it never has - happened.
“Two years ago the number of students in Nottingham went up by 1,709 students.
“A year ago it was up 2,794 students.
“The more you build, the quicker it fills up, just like road space.
“What’s already a complete and total unmanaged community imbalance is accelerating to a level that is totally unsustainable.
“That’s just in the medium term, never mind the long term.”
However the building itself, while on the edge of the residential part of Lenton, is within the Jubilee Campus development area. This is land set aside by the council for the development of the university.
This was one of the reasons a majority of councillors felt it difficult to refuse the application - because any appeal by developers would have likely been overturned at appeal.
Councillor Michael Edwards is the chairman of the committee, and represents the Meadows for Labour.
He said: “What we have to do is consider the points you make, but to consider them against what our planning policies actually say, because anything that isn’t in line with the planning policy is subject to appeal.
“It is very likely to lose that at appeal and lose pretty straightforwardly and heavily. So that is the situation we are in.”
Speaking after the meeting, councillor Edwards said: “There’s a perception that all new developments in Nottingham are for students, but actually it only amounts to six percent of all accommodation in the city.
“Currently evidence suggests we need thousands more student bedrooms to meet the needs of both our successful universities.
“Even if we wanted to, we can’t oppose planning applications purely because they are for student accommodation.
"We have to consider policies in our local plan and evidence for need as part of the planning process - and while more student accommodation is undoubtedly needed, we expect 80 percent of the housing allocated in our local plan to be for non-student homes.
“This is reflected in the fact that only two of the four schemes brought to this committee are for student accommodation - the other two are for apartments and family homes. The student schemes are near Nottingham University’s Jubilee Campus and in an area designated for campus expansion.”