RESIDENTS LIVING IN LENTON SAY THERE IS 'NO COMMUNITY LEFT'
Joseph Locker, Digital News Corespondent of the Nottingham Post reported on Tuesday 29 September 2020 that residents living in Lenton say the number of students in Lenton means that there is no community left in this residential suburban area of Nottingham. ...
'No community left': Residents describe life in Nottingham suburb dominated by students
'Our aim is to restore some balance in Lenton but we have a long way to go'
Residents living in an area of Nottingham dominated by student housing say there is "no community left" for them.
Their concerns come as Nottingham City Council said it is trying to "restore some balance" to city suburbs by approving more student accommodation blocks, rather than family homes being converted into Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs).
Both Nottingham Trent University and University of Nottingham students returned to their campuses as of the end of September, but residents in some areas of the city feel the very areas they have grown up within have since been overshadowed by them.
Abdul Mahood, 45, a life-long resident of the area, told Nottinghamshire Live: "There is no community left.
"I grew up in the middle of Lenton, but now people have all left.
"In the middle of summer I sometimes cannot open my windows as you can hear them shouting at 3am down the road.
"A lot of people have scratched cars from when they go by in big groups. I've had to take a recycling bin off my car roof, but it scratched it all up.
Resident Jasmin Roest, 31, who has lived in Lenton for around two years, added: "There are a few too many.
"I'm not saying to not have them because they are good for the city and the economy, but there are too many of them here.
"They are all in these student properties, the council should say to the private landlords they can only convert a certain amount."
A final year Law student at the University of Nottingham, who asked to remain anonymous, agreed, saying: "I feel very sorry for the families who live nearby.
"It can be very loud. I think it does impact people. The view of [some] students is that there are only students who live here, they do not act like there are families here.
"There are, equally, advantages [and] the majority of students are considerable."
Nottingham City Council's councillor Linda Woodings, the portfolio holder for housing, said the authority is trying to make sure less family homes are converted into student properties.
To do this, the council has employed an Article 4 Direction, meaning permission would need to be obtained to convert a family dwelling to an HMO shared between three and six people in the Nottingham area
Permission is already required for properties shared by seven or more unrelated people.
To uphold this direction however, Councillor Woodings told Nottinghamshire Live they must enable the building of an adequate amount of student accommodation blocks to meet demand.
"For permanent residents we need to revert that trend. Our aim is to restore some balance in Lenton but we have a long way to go.
"For second year students [in Nottingham] there is a culture of leaving your accommodation and going into a house of your own.
"In places like Oxford and Cambridge students stay in their accommodation, but in Nottingham it is part of the culture to leave that and live more independently.
"What we are hoping to do is provide enough accommodation so students stay there for the length of their time, that would be ideal, but we need some of these developments to get built and completed."
Councillor Woodings added that the council conducts a report into usage of student blocks every year, and just 0.2% were vacant as of November, meaning more are needed.
However, there are some 47 developments currently underway in the city today and councillor Woodings said the council would be discussing the potential for more on university land in the future.
A spokeswoman for The University of Nottingham said: "Our students make an extraordinary economic, social and cultural contribution to the city of Nottingham and we work hard to ensure they become valuable members of the community.
"The vast majority understand the importance of being a good neighbour and many give up their own time to take part in other activities to enrich their communities, including volunteering.
"The university supports the principal of the provision of high quality, well managed purpose-built student accommodation that supports the accommodation needs of the city’s universities - whether they be they adjacent to campuses, such as Jubilee Campus, or on strong transport routes such as the development we are now seeing along the tram corridor.
"These developments, along with appropriate local planning controls, should help return houses used as HMOs to domestic properties, helping to regenerate those communities."
A Nottingham Trent University spokesman added: “We are proud of the hugely important economic, social and cultural contribution that our students make to the city and region.
"While Lenton is not an area with a large proportion of NTU students, all our students are made aware of the importance of being a good neighbour and their impact in the communities in which they live.
“We have high-quality NTU-owned accommodation across our campuses to meet our students’ needs and we also help to support students into a range of quality purpose-built student accommodation across the city.
First a correction to what Cllr Woodings is reported to have said: Permission to convert a 'family home' (Use Class C3) to a small HMO with up to six occupants (Use Class C4) has been required since March 2012 when the Article 4 Direction came into effect. Prior to that, permission was required only for conversion from C3 to a sui generis large HMO (more than six occupants).
Second, a question for Cllr Woodings: Why can the Article 4 Direction only be upheld if Nottingham City Council enables 'the building of an adequate amount of student accommodation blocks to meet demand.'
Third: Apparently, whilst supporting " ... the principal of the provision of high quality, well managed purpose-built student accommodation that supports the accommodation needs of the city’s universities - whether they be they adjacent to campuses, such as Jubilee Campus, or on strong transport routes such as the development we are now seeing along the tram corridor." Nottingham University is not prepared to build student accommodation on its own land, whether that is in the Jubilee Campus where the Master Plan designated the north end of the site for that purpose, or on its University Park Campus.
Fourth: The Council's policy to encourage purpose built student accommodation (PBSA), whilst well-intentioned, has failed and will continue to fail to reduce the number of students living in HMOs (former good quality family homes) as long as both universities continue to ignore their responsibility to the city in which they are based and continue to increase their student intakes year on year, and Nottingham City Council continues to, conveniently, ignore the fact that putting PBSA in and adjacent to residential areas which concentrations of students merely increases the imbalance and in fact makes those areas even more desirable to the student population.