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Reports of Empty Flats in Plymouth

Posted by Richard Ward in

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Reports suggest there could be thousands of empty student bedrooms in Plymouth this year because too many flats have been built and student numbers are in decline.

The chief executive of Clever Student Lets, Henry Hutchins, said there is a crisis in Plymouth, with vacancies across the board including in new purpose-built student accommodation as well as more traditional shared houses.

It is estimated there could be between 1,500 and 2,000 empty units in the city. Despite the concern there are other student accommodation blocks already under construction, including 348 beds at Crescent Points and a further 500 rooms in the former Derrys department store.

A survey carried out in 2016 estimated that £33,951,103 was spent by students every week during the academic year in 2013-14. However, with the number of students in the city steadily falling, there are concerns that reduced spending will impact businesses and employment opportunities.

One option for purpose-built blocks is to use them as hotels, however hotel guests and students aren't always seen as the best mix and could result in issues in claiming Council Tax exemption.

Mr Hutchins has previously warned that student towers could become high-rise "ghettos" and likened them to the UK's post-war council flat tower blocks, many of which were later condemned.

Despite the warnings, others in the city have suggested there is more room for student flats.