Come friendly bombs and fall on Loughborough
1) The proposed ban is ludicrously overbroad, covering any student under 27. As a 25 year old PhD student in Cambridge, I am considered a "professional tenant" by my landlord, his freeholder, and their insurance company (all of whom stand to lose money if I trash the place). According to Charnwood District Council's planning committee members (none of whom are spending their own money, or indeed their Council Tax payers' money, on private student accommodation) I am a drunken kebab-eating nuisance.
2) Loughborough University and College employ 4000 people between them. The experience of mining towns following pit closures is that every job working directly for an outside employer supports two additional jobs within the local economy. This means that 12,000 people, or more than 1/3 of the working age population of Loughborough, owe their jobs to the education sector. The University and College won't survive if their students can't find a place to live.
3) Assuming that Charnwood Council don't want to destroy their economy, they know that students must live either on or off campus. Yet as well as trying to keep students out of off-campus housing, they also refused planning permission for an expansion of on-campus housing. The University is well stuffed, and has responded by curtailing expansion plans. Yes, that's right, the largest employer in Loughborough has cancelled a planned expansion because the aging nimby's on the local council didn't like the idea of young people having fun in their city.
4) Putting covenants in property titles is a long-term project which can make you look very stupid in the eyes of history. There are still houses in America with a covenant in the title that prevents sales to black people. I imagine that the Charnwood Board of Morons will want the students back when their economy starts tanking. Getting anti-student covenants off property titles could prove difficult when that happens.
5) This will have obvious unintended consequences for Loughborough residents in their twenties who want to become mature students.
Charnwood District Council is controlled by a Labour-Lib Dem coalition. While I expect this kind of vile behaviour from the Labour party with it's "Respect" agenda of keeping
Scarier is the prospect that they are just "local campaigners standing up for local people" who found that "drunken students" figured high on the Focus grumble sheet, and then followed the standard thought process of illiberal numbskull politicians everywhere:
- Something must be done
- This is something
- Therefore we must do it
The party is the "Liberal Democrats" and not "UK FOCUS team" for a reason - because we exist to promote Liberalism. I believe "material disagreement, evidenced by conduct, with the objects of the Party" is an expellable offence. One of the objects of the Party is that people should not be driven out of their homes just because they are the wrong age. Another is promoting access to further and higher education.
The original Guardian article suggests that Leeds and Newcastle (both under Lib Dem majority control) are considering similar policies. I hope LDYS is ready with a large cluebat.
UPDATE 01/02: I have spoken to Leeds Uni Lib Dems and apparently Leeds have only introduced restrictions on purpose-built student housing, not on any housing being let to students. This seems a wholly reasonable application of planning law.