Student accommodation in Plymouth to be restricted

Plymouth City Council is going to take a more stringent approach to planning applications for student accommodation in the future.

At the Full Council meeting on Monday 21 November Leader Councillor Ian Bowyer announced that as the number of student flats either currently being built or that have already been granted planning permission – combined with student homes of multiple occupancy – is more than enough to cater for predicted student numbers, there will now be new restrictions and student accommodation applications will have to meet detailed criteria.

There will be more than 7,450 bed spaces in large-scale purpose built student accommodation – a 50% increase on the current number available – if all those currently under construction and already granted planning permission are completed.

Councillor Bowyer said: “We are very proud that Plymouth is a vibrant, student friendly city and that our three universities host an estimated 22,200 students who make a valuable contribution to life in Plymouth and the local economy.

“However, we have received a lot of feedback from local residents that there are too many student flats springing up across the city, and that some of these are too concentrated in particular areas – we have heard this both anecdotally and through consultation responses to our Joint Local Plan (incorporating Plymouth Plan). We also know we have had an increase in interest from private investors and developers in building purpose built student accommodation.

“Growth projections suggest student numbers are not going to grow significantly in the foreseeable future and we know that we already have enough purpose built accommodation for first year students that are considered to have the greatest need.

“We want to see a better balance of other forms of housing to help improve the vibrancy of the city centre. We will also restrict further conversions of houses in multiple occupation to student occupation in areas in Greenbank, Mutley and surrounding areas, as we want to support much-needed family housing in those areas.”