Friday 14 June 2024
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Nottingham

Half of Nottingham city new builds are student accommodation

Almost half of all housing and accommodation built in Nottingham in the past 13 years has been for students, new figures from Nottingham City Council show.

Since 2011, 8,481 units of housing have been built for non-student use, while 7,311 units were built for students.

Out of the 15,792 units built in this time, 46.3 per cent were therefore for student use.

During a Housing and City Development Scrutiny Committee meeting Karen Shaw, local plans manager, said the council had successfully delivered on its housing needs targets despite the Government increasing them.

Crises in student housing, experienced in places such as Durham and Bristol, have also been avoided because the council has delivered what is needed.

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The council only failed to deliver on targets during two years, 2013/14 and 2014/15, when the target was missed by four houses.

“We have consistently delivered housing that has been asked of us, and that is even though we’ve had a 35 per cent uplift,” she said. “It is a good news story.

“Government expects us to deliver for the whole sector, so we have to provide student housing. It is part of our housing need.

“Since 2011 about half of our delivery is student housing and about half is non-student housing.

“But we know the student housing we have delivered has mainly been in the city centre.”

Ms Shaw said while the council had been successful in delivering the required number of homes the past, it is facing “a number of issues” in the future.

The Government uses something known as the ‘standard method’ to assess local housing need, taking into account expected household growth and historic under-supply.

However, because Nottingham is an urban local council area, the standard method applies an arbitrary 35 per cent increase to its housing targets.

This means Nottingham city’s target is 32,868 homes, but the council says it can only provide 26,685 homes, leaving it with a shortfall of 6,000 homes.

“We’ve got a physical constraint with our land so it is going to be even harder to deliver that 35 per cent in our boundary,” she said.

“We predict less student housing is going to be delivered as the need for them goes down. There will come a point where we don’t need to do as much student housing.

“And then, we know, looking at the future we do not think we can deliver the full amount through the standard method.

“We predict we will have an estimated shortfall of around 6,000 dwellings up to 2041.”

Cllr David Mellen (Lab), who represents Dales ward, said: “Where are we supposed to build these houses?

“Our green spaces are so precious, I would argue they are more precious than in Rushcliffe where people have got lots and lots of green space.

“It seems unfair to give an authority with less space an extra target, when others who seemingly have more space have not got that [target].”

Ms Shaw said over 100 councils across the country had failed to deliver on targets.

Some, including Nottingham, are gathering evidence to present to the Government’s Planning Inspectorate to argue a case for lower targets.

Nottingham will be asking of housing need can be calculated on a supply-based figure, due to Nottingham’s tight council boundaries.

Ms Shaw added: “We do have quite a compelling case.

“Whilst we need housing, we also need our green space, and would it be right to build [on those]?

“These are the points we will be taking to the inspector for her to consider, look, it doesn’t seem reasonable.”

If a council fail to meet targets consistently, it runs the risk of losing control of planning decisions.

At the moment director of planning, Paul Seddon, said there is not an “immediate risk” the council could face this.

•  Nottingham City Council’s housing delivery hits targets amid challenges

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