UWE: We urge students to be responsible neighbours
Published on: 19 Jun 2013
Staff from the University of the West of England have responded after last month’s Filtonvoice, in which residents were highly critical of some Filton landlords and also students living in tented accommodation.
Residents, pictured, said they were angry with noise, rubbish and general lack of care of properties and that landlords, in some cases, did not seem to care.
UWE has over 30,000 students with roughly 4,000 living in private rented accommodation and employs Nigel England as a dedicated community liaison manager, who works with partners across the city to build and maintain good community relations.
Mr England said: "We have a range of initiatives designed to build community relations including a Moving In campaign, a Waste campaign and a leaflet entitled Keeping the Peace that is given to all students when they move into private rented accommodation. We believe that prevention is better than cure and that we have a social responsibility to encourage our students to be neighbourly.
"We stress that it is important for students to get to know their neighbours and to behave like responsible residents.
"However some students will inevitably have parties and play loud music. We do all we can to resolve complaints from neighbours when this arises.
"We do have a student code of conduct which students are bound by and a disciplinary procedure. Most complaints are dealt with by way of a first formal warning and no further action is required. We vary rarely have to take things further."
"I visit students in their homes and explain that their stay is transient compared to their more permanent neighbours, who have to deal with a new intake of students each year.
"The vast majority of students are respectful people."
Residents who may experience noise and or anti social behaviour from neighbouring students can contact the University at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01173281366.
Filton resident Dave Mikkelson has urged the town’s South Glos councillors to push for ‘Article 4’ status, which would make it harder for landlords to convert homes into multiple occupancy dwellings.
Under current rules, as long as the house has shared facilities such as a kitchen, planning permission is not needed. An Article 4 ruling would mean that homes in which 3-6 people share facilities would require planning permission, allowing the opportunity to object.
Mr Mikkelson told the town council: "UWE is expanding and Filton is good for landlords. Many students represent a transient community who don’t pay council tax and don’t add anything to the community."
Cllr Roger Hutchinson said the council is effectively forced to allow flat conversions because if they are refused, the result is usually that they are eventually overturned following a costly appeal.