BROXTOWE BOROUGH COUNCIL MOVES TO CONTROL HMOs IN BEESTON
Writing in the Nottingham Post on Wednesday 6 April 2022, Matt Jarram and Julian Turner Content Editor reported that an Article 4 Direction aimed at controlling the development of new HMOs in Beeston became effective on 26 March 2022 in response to concerns by residents about the increase in students living in HMOs in Beeston and the impact on the local community.
Beeston community fed up with family homes changing to student digs as new rule brought in
Broxtowe Borough Council brought in an ‘Article 4 Direction’ on March 26
An increase in students living in houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs) is worrying Beeston residents who think their community is suffering as a result, even as council acts to limit them. A significant number of family homes are now believed to being bought by developers to accommodate the demand with properties sometimes having more than five students under one roof.
Boots worker Gabor Feher, 48, is living on Sailsbury Street, which is often identified as being student-saturated. He has lived in the area for seven years. He says he’s had enough and is moving to Clifton.
It is very noisy,” he said. “From 5pm to 11pm there are cars pulling up here all the time. I lived in Queens Road before and you could not sleep all night. Students do not care about these houses.
“We are going to move. Students do bring in the money, but you need to think about normal people as well.”
After hearing concerns from councillors and residents, Broxtowe Borough Council has brought in an ‘Article 4 Direction’ on March 26th. It means planning permission will be needed to change the use of a house to an HMO with three to six people such as students.
Smaller HMOs occupied by up to four people do not require a license and do not need to be registered with the local authority.
Keith and Valerie Rowe, both 79, have lived on Queens Drive for 32 years. They live close to Queens Road – another area known for student housing.
Mrs Rowe said: “It is better that students have their own accommodation than taking up all these houses. There is an imbalance at the moment.
“I am not blaming the students. People are selling the houses and getting lots of money out of it. We want more families with children because all the shops have gone to pot. There are so many empty and it does not seem like the same place any more.”
Mr Rowe added: “Personally, I don’t mind the students. It brings money into Beeston. It might go the other way without them. There would not be much in Beeston at all.”
Cllr Lynda Lally (Lab), representing residents in Beeston Central, said some streets which were once largely home to families were now 100 per cent occupied by student homes.
“This destroys communities,” she said.
Cllr Milan Radulovic (Lab), leader of Broxtowe Borough Council, said it has taken almost two years to bring the idea of limiting HMOs to fruition.
He said there had been “a glut” of HMOs over the last 12 months as developers tried to avoid the policy before it came into force.
“It is changing the nature of Beeston,” he said.
“It is becoming quite serious and we need to take a look at what the balance is. You can’t keep converting houses for 12 students. It is causing havoc for parking and residents. The Article 4 Direction will limit the opportunities for converting residential properties. No, it is not too late. It is better late than never.”
Planning officers at Broxtowe Borough Council have argued that the building of purpose-built student accommodation in the town could also bring more family homes back into use.
There are a number planned, including an 84-bed student development at Broadgate House at the junction of Broadgate and Humber Road. Cllr Philip Owen (Con), who sits on the planning committee, said this was “utter nonsense” and wanted evidence of how many family homes were back on the market as a result of the increase in purpose-built student accommodation.
Muhammad Ali is a community officer at the University of Nottingham’s Students’ Union, representing tens of thousands of students. Although Nottingham Trent University is also in the city, the majority of students living in Beeston study at the University of Nottingham campus.
He said while the Article 4 Direction has good intentions, University of Nottingham students are constantly fighting for a place to live in places like Lenton and Beeston.
He said: “The plan does seem to be – build lots of purpose-built student accommodation – but we want good accommodation. We do not want lots of individual rooms where people sit in there and hate it. We can’t change the fact that a lot of students want to live in a house with their friends. It is an integral part of the student experience. One of my issues with Article 4 is it limits the number of student options."
Damian McGrath, landlord at The Star Inn in Beeston, knows the importance of the student market – some of them drink in his pub. He stressed: “You just have to accept that Beeston is a student town. If the university relocated next week you would see the end of Beeston as a thriving town.”
The town now has a £14 million cinema, new bars and restaurants, a street art trail, and is also aiming to become ‘a major destination’ for shoppers and revellers.