Student housing laws extended to protect family homes

By Sophie Gregory

Laws regarding student housing have been extended in order to discourage family homes from being rented out as student accommodation.

Already introduced in Durham, planning rules and regulations have now been extended to include Framwellgate Moor, Newton Hall and Pity Me.

Those landlords who do wish to convert homes into homes of multiple occupation (HMOs) will now be required to apply for planning permission.

Framwellgate Moor councillors Mark Wilkes, Amanda Hopgood, and Mamie Simmons are encouraging of the scheme as they believe there is a great threat posed by HMOs, which are causing increasing problems in the local areas.

Councillor Hopgood reported that “parking issues in some areas are becoming dangerous” whilst Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration and culture, Councillor Neil Foster, admitted that “student accommodation is a key issue for residents.”

Foster stated that “the contribution students make to both the culture and economy of Durham cannot be underestimated but it’s essential that we have balanced communities across the city and beyond.”

Fears remain however around the influence of students and Durham University on the town of Durham itself.

Alongside the announcement that the University expects an increase of 5,700 students living in the city by 2027, the proposals for a £350 million investment in buildings, new colleges, and two new teaching hubs are causing worry.

Douglas Pocock, Chair of the City of Durham Trust, voiced these concerns: “They’ve got a huge estate, it’s the biggest in the city. They’ve got the land but can our little town really withstand that? Should the city adjust to the university or should the university adjust to the city?”

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