Good neighbours?

April 29, 2005

News of the "first inter-city coalition" in Scotland to resist concentrations of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) is welcome ("Residents join to fight student enclaves", April 22). But the coalition itself would be the first to point out that it is not the first.

The National HMO Lobby comprises some 30 groups throughout the UK who have been campaigning for five years to sustain their communities against the concentrations of HMOs, which have arisen as a result of the expansion of higher education.

It is facile to call this nimbyism. Students have been welcome for years in the "backyards" of Marchmont in Edinburgh, the Holyland in Belfast, Lenton in Nottingham, Headingley in Leeds and elsewhere. But it is a different matter to find students in your kitchen and parlour, and even in your bedroom. In all these communities, there are now streets where students far outnumber residents.

All the parties concerned recognise that this is a problem and, in response to our lobbying, the Government and the universities have commissioned Darren Smith of Brighton University to research the issues and recommend solutions.

Richard Tyler
National HMO Lobby
Leeds

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