Students will be "banned" from living on a housing development near Loughborough University under a legal agreement being negotiated by council planners.
Under the terms of a proposed planning agreement, Bellway Homes will get the go-ahead to build 52 homes on the Storer Hall site near the campus as long as there is "prevention of the occupancy of the dwellings by persons enrolled on, or attending, courses of study at Loughborough University or Loughborough College".
Ironically, the site was owned by the university, but it sold the land after failing to get planning permission to build student residences there.
A government planning inspector, who ruled against using the site for university residences, expressed concerns about the area's growing student population.
Under the deal being negotiated between Bellway Homes and Charnwood Borough Council - the local planning authority - students would be allowed to live on the site if they lived with parents or if they were owner-occupiers rather than tenants.
Although local people have campaigned against increasing the number of students living in the area, a residents' group has criticised the council for infringing students' human rights. Clare Allen, from the Storer and Ashby Residents' Group, said the council was "setting a dangerous precedent" and "treating students as second-class citizens". According to council papers, a recent consultation exercise with residents "clearly demonstrated the concern of the vast majority... that something needs to be done to control the increasing student population outside the campus, but no single clear consensus emerged".
It is understood that a previous planning application to build a student residence on the same site was turned down by the council.
A Loughborough University official said: "It is the university's belief that the agreement will help to prevent private landlords or individuals buying to let properties. It does not, we believe, discriminate against students per se. The university feels that its students will still have plenty of choice for accommodation on and off campus."