DC Casebook: Housing new build - Student homes pass community test

A nine-storey building with accommodation for 347 students in north-west London has been allowed after an inspector found a substantial shortfall in such provision across the capital.

The 0.4ha site fell in a larger area identified as being in need of regeneration. The council claimed that the scheme represented a lost opportunity to provide self-contained housing. It argued that the number of bed spaces proposed would lead to studentification of the area, resulting in antisocial behaviour and a less inclusive and unsustainable community.

The inspector noted a mismatch between growing student numbers and the supply of appropriate accommodation. It was conceivable that the scheme would free up some self-contained housing for the public as students moved into the appeal development, he reasoned. Some parts of London contained much higher concentrations of students and the scheme would upgrade the quality of the immediate environment, he noted.

Although the scheme would not deliver any affordable housing, a unilateral undertaking ensured that the accommodation could only be rented to students enrolled at a higher education institution. Since it would meet a specialist form of housing need, the inspector saw no justification for requiring an element of affordable housing.

DCS Number 100-069-367

Inspector Clive Hughes; Inquiry.

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