York Councillor proposes housing restrictions for students

Image source: York Press

Image source: York Press

York Councillor, Roger Pierce, is calling for plans to restrict students from living in residential areas surrounding the University, such as Badger Hill, Garrow Hill and Newland Park. The new legislation would ban any landlords from converting a house into a student home without planning permission.

This follows a investigation in May when Nouse discovered the original plans for the proposed housing bill, which stated that landlords would be forced to publicly declare that they were renovating a house for student occupation. The report also identified the council’s intention to change student residents from a C3 property (dwelling houses) to a C4 property (houses in multiple occupation).

The new legislation has come after pressure from local residents in York, who sent a letter to the University about student behaviour. In the letter also uncovered by Nouse in the May report, it was stated that there had been an “ever increasing number of complaints from residents regarding serious anti-social behaviour and noise generated by some of the local student population.”

Despite uproar from students and YUSU in response to the letter, Councillor Pierce still intends to try and implement the legislation which would force students to live in more other parts of the city such as Tang Hall.

Osbaldwick Parish Council are also requesting to be considered in this new legislation in order to prevent students moving into the area. Councillor Pierce has already recently been involved in blocking a potential student house in Osbaldwick due to the apparent negative impact high proportions of students can have on the local area.

Such events have offended students living in these areas. One History of Art student who recently moved to Osbaldwick commented: “It annoys me that the stereotype of students has a negative impact on students with regards to where they can live. I may be a student but that doesn’t mean I’ll respect the area any less than those who are working or retired.”


  1. If I was a racist and wrote to the Council complaining about ‘anti social behaviour’ of immigrants, would the Council require landlords to get planning permission before they allowed foreigners to live in their properties?

    The answer is no, because it is (rightly) recognised that the actions of a few individuals does not reflect the behaviour of the group as a whole.

    By the same token, Councillor Pierce’s letter is completely inappropriate, and will serve only to further exacerbate the tensions between student/local populations. What a ridiculous man.


  2. It’s only a bill about renovating existing properties. It won’t affect existing housing, and is only a measure to stop landlords from buying properties in these areas just for use as student accommodation. Is this such a bad thing?

    As for the C3/C4, most student accommodation (3 or more individuals) should be classified as an HMO anyway.



  3. How can we complain about the serious anti-social behaviour and noise generated by the local population of chavs? In fact, how can we ban chavs from living around students?

    I am being quite serious, I know several international and ethnic minority students who have been harassed, followed around and threatened with violence by these lowlifes.

    But yeah, it’s the students who cause trouble, clearly.

    PS: Surely it must be illegal to discriminate like that against a group of people?
    PPS: If this is enforced, perhaps the Student Union should respond by declaring that locals are no longer welcome to walk around campus as they annoy the student population. They should be going for a walk around Tang Hall instead.


  4. 20 Jul ’10 at 10:01 pm

    What a douche

    fool, complete fool.

    Perhaps we should let him hang out in Tang Hall for a few nights and then see what he says.

    He’d probably have a heart attack.


  5. 20 Jul ’10 at 11:22 pm

    all over again

    this is ridiculous, if any ethnic group was attacked like this there would be outrage. But since its students its ok. No matter what way you look at it this is discrimination on a very large level.

    Also is this councillor an idiot students provide a large economic boost to residential areas during term time, not to mention all the out reach programmes the various organisations on campus provide during and out of term time.

    i really hope YUSU actually put all their effort in to campaigning against this proposal instead of pussy footing around like they usually do.


  6. HMOs may not need planning after all 20th July 2010
    Student landlords may not need planning permission to convert a former family home in to a house in multiple occupation (HMO).

    Councils may be misinterpreting planning rules by implying new class order legislation means property investors have to apply for planning consent when switching a family home to an HMO.

    This revelation could leave the way open for landlords to switch family homes to HMOs without applying for planning permission and leave councils up in the air when trying to control new HMOs on planning grounds.

    Writing in Planning Magazine, Stephen Ashworth explains use classes order rules only require permission for “development” that includes material changes of use and that the legislation says a change of use in each class is deemed not to be development.

    In April, a new use class C4 was created for HMOs – with standard residential homes classified as C3.

    Councils have widely interpreted this as meaning new HMOs switching from C3 use to C4 use need planning permission.

    The rules do not say that permission is required for changes between use classes, although there is a commonly held misapprehension that permission is always required for such changes, wrote Mr Ashworth.

    He cites a government circular (05/2010) issued to councils to support his view that says ‘planning permission “may” be required if there is a material change when a property changes between different use classes’.

    A recent planning appeal decision (DCS Number 100-067-072) concerned continued use of a dwelling as an HMO.

    Mr Ashworth wrote: “The inspector found no evidence to support the assertion that HMO residents are intrinsically more disposed to make more noise than occupiers of other property types, particularly families with children.

    “Whether a dwelling is occupied by a family or a number of unrelated people does not alter the nature of the use.

    “This view is plainly right and will make it difficult to enforce against changes in occupation covered by the new use classes.

    “If a large family including adult children with cars occupy a house and then rent it out to a similar number of unrelated individuals, is that really likely to lead to a genuine change in use? The external impacts are likely to be largely the same.

    “Similarly, if a seventh person joins a group house, are the impacts likely to change materially? How long does the additional person have to stay for the impacts to become material? Is it really a material change of use if one of the occupants starts living with her boyfriend?

    “How will occupants and their relationships be monitored?”


  7. Isn’t this the same councillor who complained last year about messy front gardens, living rooms converted to bedrooms and people covering windows with rugs?

    I think he needs to start thinking about who his constituents are, I’m guessing students are quite a large proportion, and rather than making us seem like low lifes that should be banned, he should be actively partnering with the University to come up with solutions to the antisocial behaviour so that students and locals can co-exist in a more peaceful manner.

    Hats off to York St John, atleast they have come up with that patrol scheme, perhaps a little authoritarian, but atleast it acknowledges that some students sometimes do play music until unreasonable hours, and return home drunk and noisy in the early morning.


  8. 22 Jul ’10 at 7:05 pm

    York Labour Party website

    “[Roger Pierce] believes that only the Labour Party really places the interests and well-being of the majority before those of the wealthy minority of business and landlords. He also thinks that only a Labour-led city council will successfully tackle the key issues in Hull Road ward: impact of university expansion and Derwenthorpe; exploitation of students and their neighbours by private landlords; public transport; crime reduction; road safety; and local parking problems.”


  9. I have lived for the majority of my life in Labour controlled council areas and trust me, Labour is not the answer to anything apart from how to waste money and create disatisfaction.

    Case in point: this numpty. Why is he targeting students, who are generally law-abiding and socially responsible, and not the genuinely anti-social elements in York? On three separate occasions, and in one year alone, students I know have been attacked by York residents. Maybe it’s easier for this councillor to target a group that he knows will, by and large, follow the law and cause few problems intentionally.


  10. some of the people who live in these areas are pricks themselves a woman came round and punched my friend in the face during his 21st birthday party at about 11PM despite him agreeing to turn the music down and having told her that he was planning a party.


  11. Adam Bennet:
    (assuming you actually are who you say…)

    P.S, do you realise you’re advertising a four bedroom house for the princely sum of £0.00 pp/w on your website? :)


  12. 21 Apr ’11 at 1:56 pm

    Anyone but Labour

    University of York is one of (if not the) biggest employer in York. Perhaps this Labour should think about that.