In a recent Nottingham City Council planning committee meeting, councilors were advised that the requirement for additional student accommodation bed spaces will rise by between 4,000 and 5,000 between 2023 and 2026.
Within the meeting it was made clear that NCC have three priorities when it comes to student accommodation in the city, one of which is displacing students from houses of multiple occupancy (HMO) and into purpose built student accommodation (PBSA).
1. Alleviating pressure on the wider property market
Making sure increased demand for student accommodation doesn’t put pressure on the wider property market, and affordability for families who are renting.
According to Paul Seddon, the council’s planning director, “If there hadn’t been that growth in purpose-built, all of that demand cannot be stopped, wouldn’t have been stopped, and would have translated to even greater excessive pressure on the existing housing in the city.”.
The council have achieved this by promoting and encouraging the building of PBSA blocks across the city, and restricting residential properties from being turned into HMOs using an Article 4 direction.
2. Increasing competition in the student accommodation sector
According to the council’s latest data, there is 1 % vacancy rate in student bed spaces in the city.
The council wants this vacancy rate to be significantly higher, to allow for healthy competition between providers, and allow capacity for refurbishments.
Mr Seddon advised, “That is not actually a healthy amount of vacancy,”
“You want more vacancy because that would enable bits to close for refurbishment, investment and also that healthy competition between providers.”
“We’ve never got ahead of the growth in student numbers.”
“Up until now, and we are thinking just this year, or the next few years, the pipeline of delivery should start to get ahead.”
3. Getting more council tax revenue
In order to achieve this excess capacity in the market, another 10,000 bed spaces are in the pipeline for the city.
This kind of excess capacity will also cause student HMOs to be turned back into family homes, which will generate more council tax revenue for NCC.
It seems that the policy of Cllr Graham Chapman (Lab), who is the vice chair of the committee, and the rest of the Labour Party, to displace students from ordinary housing and into PBSA.
““If we manage to displace students out of ordinary housing, and we are starting to do that, we get additional council tax.”