COUNCIL MOVES TO RESTRICT RENTED ACCOMMODATION WILL AFFECT WORKERS ON LOW INCOMES NOT STUDENTS
FXU is concerned that moves by Falmouth Town Council to restrict the availability of rented accommodation in the Marlborough Road and Kimberley Park Road areas may prevent people on lower incomes, such as nurses, trainee teachers, young professionals and migrant workers from being able to live in the town in the future.
Under current rules, planning permission is not required to convert a property from use as a single unit to become a small House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) with between three and six tenants who are not related. However, the introduction of an Article 4 Direction will mean the opposite will apply and is being discussed as a way to restrict student housing in the local area and improve community relations. FXU questions this on a number of grounds:
- The introduction of Article 4 will impact on everyone on lower incomes or those who are unable to afford to rent or buy a property of their own
- Homes that are rented by a couple with a lodger or another individual will be classed as HMOs so it will be harder for them to find affordable accommodation
- Article 4 cannot be applied retrospectively, and therefore will not change the areas of town where students currently live
- Nationally, it is believed that Article 4 is generally the wrong legislation to deal with social problems that are perceived by other residents.
FXU has been in touch with colleagues from across the country where Article 4 has been introduced and has found that it has had no significant impact on students.
Frankie Boyd, Vice-President Welfare for FXU said: “I don’t think this will have any impact on the issues it is supposed to tackle and there has been little proof nationally that implementing Article 4 improves the community. It’s a shame that the Council has failed to engage effectively with us or students in order to proactively tackle some of the real issues at hand. As a local tax payer, I am concerned that money and resources will be expended on introducing and enforcing legislation that may have no real impact on the issues it seeks to address. At a time when vital public services are being cut, I’m sure the money could be spent on more important things. Because Article 4 can’t be retrospectively enforced, nothing will change. Local people need to look carefully at some of the claims that are being made about Article 4. There seems to be a lot of rhetoric and unsubstantiated claims about what this will achieve for the community. Could the real reason behind the push to implement Article 4 within the year have anything to do with the fact that there will be a General Election in 2015, perhaps?”
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