House shares may be cut after student problems in Lincoln
The number of new house shares in Lincoln could be limited following complaints about noisy students and parties.
The City of Lincoln Council is exploring ways to create more balanced communities over fears some areas have become student ghettos.
Local authorities can use an Article 4 Direction, meaning planning permission is needed to turn a family home into a house of multiple occupation (HMO), normally shared by three to six unrelated people.
If rolled out in Lincoln, the rules would apply to new conversions only, where such schemes are said to have harmed the character of an area.
SYSTEM PROFESSIONAL LUXE OIL uses a reconstructive Transform Technology that benefits hair inside and out, while protecting it from damage:
Terms: Whilst stocks last.
Contact: 01522 303163
Valid until: Tuesday, December 31 2013
City council leader Ric Metcalfe said: “We are going to look very carefully at whether the planning system, through Article 4, does have something to offer.
“But it is not a magic bullet or a portcullis that comes down and stops HMOs.
“It just allows local authorities to consider through the planning system whether they wish to grant further applications for conversions to HMOs.
“We would have to take each case on its merits.”
Of the 42,990 postal addresses in Lincoln, 2,193 are student households and 153 are licensed HMOs.
In the West End there are 1,773 properties, of which 419 house students and 68 are registered HMOs.
Cllr Metcalfe said shared houses help meet some of the city’s affordable housing needs, not just for students but also for working people.
He also stressed some developers could cut corners on projects before new rules came in, while restrictions could simply shift anti-social behaviour elsewhere.
“We want balanced communities but there’s all sorts of balancing to be done in order to achieve this across the city,” he said.
This September a total of 90 anti-social behaviour and noise complaints were recorded across Lincoln – 29 fewer than the previous September.
Yet the highest proportion stems from Carholme ward, with 23 this September, compared to 19 in September last year.
The Carholme Ward is a prominent student area and long-term West End residents say they have suffered sleepless nights due to noise, parties, drunkenness, urinating in gardens, verbal abuse, thefts of road signs and vandalism to cars.
Mr Metcalfe said the council is looking to set up a noise patrol and will campaign to get people to bring their bins in every week.
He said University of Lincoln Vice Chancellor Mary Stuart has assured him the minority of students behind recent disturbances have been disciplined.
Gary Hughes, from West End Residents’ Association, said: “We are cautiously optimistic. The right noises are being made. Let’s see if it’s followed up with the right actions.”
University of Lincoln spokesman Ian Richards, said: “The university wants to ensure there is a balanced supply of good quality accommodation for students in the city.
“We supply accommodation on campus and work with landlords, the council and local residents to provide suitable off campus accommodation.
“Generally, we are proud of the contribution that our students make to the city but we take seriously any reports where an individual’s behaviour falls short of the standards we expect.
“There is no town and gown divide in Lincoln and we believe this is to the benefit of the whole city. Students are members of their local communities and, like long-term residents, they want to live in a pleasant, safe environment.”