Leeds has plan to end town-gown animosity

March 3, 2000

Tensions caused by the town-gown split found in most university towns could be a thing of the past in Leeds, thanks to an initiative aimed at improving the relationship between locals and the city's 40,000 students.

"There is such a high concentration of students in some areas of Leeds that it can cause problems such as noise pollution, or can place increased pressures on public transport," said Ceri Nursaw, head of Leeds University city and regional office.

Leeds University, Leeds Metropolitan University and the city council are jointly appointing a community relations officer to forge better links between the social groups. There will also be a complaints hotline for residents.

"We are trying to balance these communities to ensure that there are adequate facilities to cope with both," said Ms Nursaw.

"If there are problems in one area of the city, the students are more likely to move into another. This leaves voids in the areas which have come to rely on students."

About 20,000 students live in private accommodation in Leeds, while Leeds University alone brings more than Pounds 500 million to the local economy.

Community schemes such as Campus Connect, an activities programme that involves more than 200 Leeds University students and inner-city schools, are also used to strengthen relations.

A similar tactic has been adopted by Wolverhampton University, which recently signed a partnership to improve the quality of life for locals living close to the campus. Staff and student representatives will also ensure that shared grounds are well-kept and litter-free.

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