Student accommodation review set to take place

A task group is to be set up to review the amount of student accommodation in Liverpool.

It follows moves by developers in recent years to create large scale student flats in the city centre which are generally good quality, with a range of facilities and close to universities.

The number of students in the city region is growing, with some establishments reporting annual growth in new admissions of up to 18 percent. Currently the number studying in the city region is around 50,000 – equivalent to the population of Torquay or Inverness – with the bulk attending Liverpool’s three largest universities.

The review will examine what impact the conversion of city centre sites is having on other competing land uses such as businesses and retail, as well as the infrastructure of the area.

The group will include representatives of the universities, student bodies and developers and will aim to reach conclusions on:

• The suitability and viability of the current student accommodation offer in the city centre

• The need for growth to meet future demand

• The impact on the city centre and other affected areas of continuing to grow the accommodation

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said:  “There is a perception that our city centre is being taken over by developments of student flats.  I have asked for this review because we need to be sure of the facts and fiction and make sure that the city centre stays a vibrant and exciting place to live, work and visit for both students and non-students alike.

“Students contribute a huge amount to the city, but we need to be mindful of the impact sudden changes and fluctuations in this market could have on the centre.”

Councillor Ann O’Byrne, Cabinet member for housing, added: “Liverpool is hugely popular with students because we have fantastic universities and the city is known as a friendly and welcoming place with a vibrant culture and night life. We very much welcome them, and many of them choose to stay on after their studies and make the city their permanent home. This review will help guide us in making sure we have the right amount of accommodation in the right places.”

A report recommending the setting up of the task group will be considered by the Cabinet on Thursday 2 April. If approved, the review group will agree a final report and recommendations in May 2015 which will then be considered by the Cabinet.