off campus

From Bernard Parke

Hon Alderman


Guildford is now a university town. So are Oxford and Manchester, and like both of these cities we are experiencing problems, such as the loss affordable housing.

This is mainly due to the trend of making affordable homes into houses of multiple occupation or “HMOs”. Such properties are little more than student dormitories.

Oxford and Manchester have cited, in different reports, the following problems in addition to the loss of family homes.

1) Anti-social behaviour, noise and nuisance

2) Imbalanced and unsustainable commutes

3) Negative impacts on the physical environment and street-scape

4) Pressure upon parking provision

5) Increased crime

6) The growth in private rented sector at the expense of owner-occupation

7) Pressure upon local community facilities

8) Restructuring of retail , commercial services and recreational facilities to suit the lifestyle of the predominant population.

9) The inflationary pressure on houses due to high prices landlords can pay compared with families

10) Lack of care/maintenance front and back gardens

HMOs, where all the tenants are students, are not liable for council tax.

Apparently, according to an article in The Times, even The London Borough of Newham are able to charge the sum of £500 for every new let in HMOs.

Some might say that we are neither Oxford of Manchester but surely many of these issues are not unknown to our residents too.

If Manchester and Oxford can make plans to counteract the above problems why can’t we, in Guildford?

By placing restrictions on HMOs there would be more family homes available which in turn would help to relieve pressure on our treasured green belt.