Residents fear halls are swamping town

May 11, 2001

Loughborough University has been accused of "swamping" the town with student bedsits, halls and cars.

Loughborough residents and planners said the university's plan to accommodate more than 1,000 students in new halls in the town would put the community and its environment under strain.

Two of three planning applications that the student accommodation specialist Unite submitted on behalf of the university, are for upgrading halls in a part of the town that is already saturated with students, according to Loughborough council development-control leader Peter Blitz.

Mr Blitz said there was concern among residents about the impact of the growing student population on housing, services and car parking. Many residential areas had been bought up by bedsit letting agencies, and a local school had experienced falling enrolment.

"There is a feeling that the university campus is taking over this part of the town and swamping it with students," Mr Blitz said.

The university argued that the halls, which have been in use in the area for many years, are being refurbished and this will not significantly increase the number of students in the area.

It said it already housed about 50 per cent of its students on campus and plans for new sporting facilities and incubator units for spin-off companies meant there was little room left for more halls.

Mr Blitz said feelings had been running high among residents who had attended a series of public meetings on the plans. "The message I got from those meetings was that the university has not really properly grasped the strength of feeling on this."

John Town, the university's registrar, admitted that there was a high concentration of students in one area of Loughborough, but added that this was partly due to accommodation let by private landlords.

He said the university had responded to residents' concerns and had amended its plans substantially, dropping one of the applications completely.

Consultation on the plans continues until May 21.

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