The proposal will aim to strengthen the planning process for HMOs, giving councillors a say over what types of houses can apply. It will also suggest a guideline of no more than 10% of houses in each local area being HMOs. If this figure reaches 15%, all future applications will be turned down.
The proposal has been put forward by Winton community forum, which arranged a public meeting on Saturday morning to bring residents, councillors, police and the University together to discuss the issue of student housing.
With the growth of Bournemouth University, increasing numbers of local family houses have been rented to students in recent years. According to Winton Community Forum’s report, HMOs now make up 12.89% of housing in Winton East and 25% of the population are university students living in the area temporarily.
The report also argues that local residents believe studentification is destroying their communities, highlighting complaints about late-night noise and excessive behaviour. Toby Horner, President of Bournemouth University’s Students’ Union, said that one resident who had attended the meeting had spoken of having to sleep in the corner of a corridor because noise was so loud.
Councillor Theo Stratton said: “The issue mainly came up over the past 5 years as Bournemouth University got a reputation. Unfortunately we now have more cases of anti-social behaviour, but I would say this is definitely caused by a minority of students.”
Efforts are also being made to improve co-ordination between local police and the Students’ Union to improve the overall situation.
Mr Horner said: “We have been creating a lot of community awareness. The university has fined students who have been visited by community support officers and police.”
He added that those causing disturbance would be issued with a warning letter, and if the problem continued they would receive a second letter and the University would contact the Head of Student Services about the problem.
Winton Home Watch and local residents have praised the close co-operation between police and the Students’ Union, which has undertaken a number of initiatives to help address the issue.
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