Student hous­ing must be con­trolled

Bath Chronicle - - OPINION -

How dis­ap­point­ing it was to read a let­ter from Adam Reynolds, (Chron­i­cle, Septem­ber 6), re­spond­ing to my di­rec­tion in the prepa­ra­tion of the consultation to the Lo­cal Plan re­gard­ing student ac­com­mo­da­tion. I have made it clear in my cabi­net role that the un­con­trolled ex­pan­sion of student ac­com­mo­da­tion into the city whether as an ‘HMO or ‘pur­pose built student ac­com­mo­da­tion’ (PBSA) has to be con­trolled and the univer­si­ties have to take their own smoke and build on cam­pus. I want to com­mend both univer­si­ties for the way they are dis­cussing this sit­u­a­tion which had been al­lowed to get out of con­trol by pre­vi­ous coun­cil ad­min­is­tra­tions. Th­ese is­sues are getting re­solved by the firm ac­tion I’m tak­ing by in­di­cat­ing to de­vel­op­ers that gen­er­ally PBSA will not be ac­cept­able in the im­me­di­ate city cen­tre as those sites are needed for hous­ing and par­tic­u­larly af­ford­able hous­ing and just as im­por­tantly prime of­fices on the Quays site. Mr Reynolds clearly does not ap­pre­ci­ate that it is al­ready part of the cur­rent core strat­egy that was ap­proved by his Lib­eral Demo­crat col­leagues that there should be grade A of­fices on the sites he re­ferred to in the city cen­tre and NOT student ac­com­mo­da­tion. Can I as­sume that party has now changed its po­si­tion? Fi­nally to put the record straight we are not just build­ing lux­ury flats hav­ing re­cently re­ceived fund­ing to build ‘af­ford­able’ as part of Bath’s de­vel­op­ment. It is a great shame that Mr Reynolds wants all the student ac­com­mo­da­tion growth to go unchecked in the city at the ex­pense of our res­i­dents.

Bob Good­man

Cabi­net member for de­vel­op­ment and neigh­bour­hood

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