City of York Council is set to compile a citywide map of student houses in York next week. They will discuss whether to carry out a study to identify where students are most likely to reside in York.
The meeting is apparently in reaction to complaints made by local residents who say having more students living nearby leads to rising noise, crime, litter and parking problems.
A letter has been circulating the Badger Hill estate again recently, which protests that York Council, North Yorkshire Police and the University have received an “ever increasing number of complaints from residents regarding serious anti-social behaviour and noise generated by some of the local student population.” The letter adds: “Sadly, Badger Hill is developing a very negative reputation due to all this unnecessary trouble!”
The letter continues: “The time has come for owners, landlords and letting agents to take more responsibility for the actions of these inconsiderate individuals and to rectify the condition of some of the student houses and gardens, many of which are in an absolutely disgraceful state!”
When the letter was first distributed, YUSU likened it to “organised discrimination”.
One third-year Badger Hill resident recently found the letter under her car’s wind-screen wipers one evening, although the car was parked on the student house’s drive. The same student in question also complained of local residents taking out the bin from her drive, even when people were living in the house.
This follows a series of reports made by Nouse regarding student alienation in the city. Last month it was reported that York Councillor, Roger Pierce, was calling for plans to restrict students from living in residential areas surrounding the University.
According to the last set of figures produced by the council’s local development framework working group, which meets next week, based on the number of households exempt from paying council tax, the three York council wards with the most student housing are Heslington, which has a 27.77 per cent population, Hull Road (14.82 per cent) and Fishergate (10.53 per cent).
Frances Sadler, of the council’s city development team, said that “more pronounced concentrations of student housing, which may be impacting on neighbourhoods” may be hidden by the current information used by the group.
She added that “further work is needed to identify more localised concentrations of student housing”.
The specific problem the working group has identified is that landlords can currently create houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). This can be prevented through a law known as an Article 4 Direction. This comes after new legislation passed in April of this year which redefined student houses as a new Use Class, ‘C4 Houses in Multiple Occupation’, whereas they were previously classed under the generic Use Class, ‘C3 Dwellinghouses’, which is what family houses are classed under.