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Student Accommodation Outgrows New Homes

Posted by Richard Ward in

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Statistics from Glasgow City Council show that the number of student accommodation units built over the last five years has exceeded the number of new homes.

It's estimated that 10,744 student bedrooms have been built or were under construction as of last year, compared with only 9,493 homes.

As usual the growth in self-contained student units has been attributed to the rise in wealthy overseas students and foreign investors.

In contrast to the increase in purpose-built student accommodation, the building of new houses in Scotland has fallen from a peak of 21,000 in 2007 to around 17,000 last year.

Commenting on the findings, Graham Simpson, a Scottish Conservative MSP, accused the council of mismanaging housing, adding: "Many Glasgow families waiting for homes or unable to get on to the housing ladder will be extremely annoyed by these statistics."

"Successive council administrations have totally failed to provide a reasonable mix of housing tenures and have totally failed their residents."

Critics of PBSA suggest it tarnishes the skyline, while many rooms lie empty over the summer when students return home.
Moreover, a lack of house-building is leading to unaffordability in the market, with first-time buyers being priced out of their neighbourhoods.

Meanwhile, Andy Wightman MSP, a Scottish Greens housing spokesman, commented: "Across Scottish cities, plots of land are being turned over to ill thought out accommodation blocks that do not contribute a penny in council tax but make a lucrative profit for investors."

"Inadequate planning guidance means that these premises can be quickly and cheaply built to a standard lower than residential homes. It's clear that the current imbalance between residents and students must be addressed if we are to create diverse and sustainable communities."

In response the council said it has an excellent track record of delivering new housing to meet the needs of its residents and to cater for its growing population. Furthermore, students a vital to Glasgow's economy and the ability to attract and retain graduates forms part of the council's economy strategy.