Leeds bid to mollify residents

April 2, 2004

Leeds University is tackling problems arising from the explosion in the number of private rentals in the city by introducing higher education's first comprehensive housing strategy.

It aims to tackle the disproportionate growth in student housing that has produced the so-called Headingley effect. Critics say this has downgraded the formerly affluent family suburb close to the university.

The university has pledged to develop safe, affordable accommodation away from Headingley and surrounding areas. Alan Wilson, vice-chancellor, said:

"While re-emphasising the educational, cultural and economic benefits students bring to the city, we acknowledge that the rise in student numbers has had an adverse effect on some communities." He said the strategy would be seen as a landmark in the university's relationship with the community.

Diana Warwick, Universities UK chief executive, said: "Student accommodation is of huge importance to universities, as they aim to attract an increasingly diverse student body. UUK supports all efforts to provide solutions and to work with local authorities to ensure students have affordable high-quality and safe housing."

Richard Lewis, deputy leader of Leeds City Council, said: "New-build proposals in regeneration areas will provide a significant and welcome boost, and the strategy will complement the economic, cultural and social benefits the university brings to the city."

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