The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Council cracks down on ‘Studentification’

• New legal powers to stop areas being ‘Overrun’ with student housing
• Pressure from residents groups to “save local communities”
• Concerns over discrimination against students

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• New legal powers to stop areas being ‘Overrun’ with student housing

• Pressure from residents groups to “save local communities”

• Concerns over discrimination against students

Manchester City Council is using new legal powers to curb the growth in student communities over concerns about anti-social behaviour and effects on local communities.

In October last year the Council issued what is known as an Article 4 Direction, giving itself increased powers to regulate changes in use of properties across Manchester, in particular Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). The new powers allow the council to restrict the number of properties being converted to house three or more unrelated people.

The council said that the order was introduced, “in response to the encroachment of HMOs, particularly student house shares, into areas traditionally characterised by family housing.

It is expected to have an impact in areas like Fallowfield and Withington, where high concentrations of houseshares can have a negative impact on the surrounding neighbourhood”

In October 2010 the government changed planning law, relaxing the restrictions on HMOs nationally though allowing individual council’s the opt-out of the changes by issuing Article 4 Directions.

The changes come amidst debate over effects of the concentration of students in particular areas.

The residents’ group Withington Civic Society lobbies the Council for tighter controls on HMOs, in order to stop what it describes as the ‘Studentification’ of South Manchester. In their submission to the council’s consultation the society argued that high student numbers in South Manchester was leading to “high levels of anti-social behaviour, environmental decline, social imbalance and community erosion.

Quality of life has “suffered for all inhabitants”

In the last year the council has also imposed restrictions on drinking in public places in Fallowfield and Withington in an effort to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Last November South-East Fallowfield Residents’ Association held a public meeting with local politicians to discuss concerns over the increasing number of students living in the area.

The National Union of Students has described Article 4 Directions as an attack on students right to decide where they live. University of Manchester Students’ Union Welfare Officer, Hannah Patterson, told the Mancunion: “The article 4 direction is not going to solve any of the problems that the council say it’s going to.”

The main problem is that changing demographics in Fallowfield mean that the area has already hit capacity and this regulation is just going to make it more difficult for residents to sell their homes”