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York Councillor Argues PBSA Isn't Freeing up Family Homes

Posted by Richard Ward in ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

A York city councillor has hit back at claims new student accommodation is freeing up family homes for the wider market.

Councillor Mark Warters has suggested his experience as a ward councillor near the University of York campus, was at odds with the claim that students are moving out of houses of multiple occupation and into purpose-built student accommodation. He also suggested the argument of freeing up homes is still being used to justify the development of student blocks.

Mr Warters said: "Whenever any of these come up at planning committee, we hear this statement but there are never any figures to back it up."

The topic came up for debate after a petition was launched calling for City of York Council planners to focus on affordable homes rather than student halls and luxury flats.

Meanwhile, city planning boss Mike Slater said: "Off-campus, purpose-built student accommodation is very popular with students at universities across the UK, not just in York, and frees up family homes for sale or rent in the private sector."

However, in 2017-18 2,796 homes were given student council tax exemptions, an increase of 10% on the previous year.

Councillor Warters suggested there has been no slow down in the number of people applying for HMO licences to convert houses into shared homes. But council bosses cited the growing number of students coming to the city and that demand for purpose-built accommodation was a national trend not unique to York.