RESIDENTS in south Leamington say council chiefs need to ‘act fast and act effectively’ to tackle on-going problems with shared and student housing.
SoLAR (South Leamington Area Residents) welcomed a raft of recommendations on so-called HMOs (Houses of Multiple Occupation) agreed by Warwick District Council last week to deal with a wide range of issues from noise to rubbish.
A SoLAR spokesperson said “This report validates the concerns that many of our members have had for some time now particularly with the growing numbers of family houses that have been lost to HMOs and the impact of studentification.
“We are pleased that at last there will be a proper review of services and implementation of both a student housing strategy and enforcement policy.
“The council is playing catch-up on these issues. We expect more students as Warwick University expands, putting more pressure on the local housing market and on our ability to maintain a mixed and balanced community. South Leamington has borne the brunt so far but north Leamington and even Kenilworth are starting to feel the impact.
“So our message to the Council is act fast and act effectively.”
Warwick District Council leader Andrew Mobbs thanked all those who had helped prepare the recommendations and was confident it would have an impact.
He said: “We are now able to confirm a robust strategy for HMOs in our district, mitigating many of the negative impacts that concentrations of these homes could otherwise have on our local communities.”
The new measures to deal with HMOs come as figures show the number of students living in Leamington has rocketed over the past two decades.
There were only some 1,600 students living in the town back in 2000, but that figure has soared to 5,900 this year.
And with the university set to expand further the number is set to rise to around 6,300 by 2019 – over a quarter of the entire university student population.