RESIDENTS in Leamington are not alone in their concerns over student housing.
That was the message spelled out during a recent meeting of the National Association of Residents’ Organisations (NARO) which highlighted the issue of loss of family homes and sense of community through the growth of student housing from both shared houses (HMOs) and purpose-built accommodation (PBSAs).
It has been a long-running issue in Leamington, with thousands of students attending the University of Warwick living in town during term time, most in the Old Town area. Noise, litter and parking issues are regular complaints.
In 2012 Station House was built opposite the railway station providing purpose-built accommodation for some 400 students, and The Union on Althorpe Street is home to nearly 200 students.
Leamington Society member Barbara Lynn was among those to attend the NARO meeting in Bath.
Writing in the society’s latest newsletter, she said: “Members of the committee felt strongly that universities should provide accommodation for their students on their own land, rather than leaving them to find private accommodation in neighbouring areas.
“In their opinion student housing should also be better controlled. All HMOs should be licensed, not just those which accommodate five or more residents.
“Landlords should be required to register with the local authority, rather than being given the option of applying for voluntary registration. Furthermore, as well as restrictions being applied to the number of HMOs in a given area, the number of students as a percentage of the population should also be limited.
“This was seen as important given the recent growth of large-scale PBSAs which could damage community cohesion.”
Plans for another Leamington PBSA on a scrap metal yard in Wise Street, offering accommodation for some 200 students, were refused by Warwick District Council in January. A number of objectors highlighted the development would breach the council’s policy on the level of HMOs within an area.