Don Foster MP

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New planning policy approach to student housing a boost for Bath - Foster

December 5, 2023 by admin in Don in Bath, News

Don Foster MP, has welcomed the Government move that allows Council’s to include purpose built student flats in Core Strategy Housing Target figures. Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, today made the announcement in Department for Communities and Local Government Questions. Commenting, Don made the following statement :

I have for a long time been raising the issue of why purpose built student accommodation does not count towards Housing targets. The previous government always referred to Planning Policy Statement 3 which ruled them out.

Given the proposed changes by the Coalition Government to planning policy and the new approach to planning for housing numbers, I have again been pursuing the issue.

At lunchtime I had a meeting with Grant Shapps MP (Housing Minister) about student housing and housing targets to discuss the issue and then in Department for Communities and Local Government Questions I asked the Minister the following question:

“Modern, purpose built, university student accommodation resembles blocks of flats.

They reduce the need for family homes to be converted to HMOs and can lead to some HMOs being returned to family homes.

So, in future, will councils be allowed to count such flats towards the delivery of their Core Strategy Housing targets?”

I received the following extremely welcome reply;

“My Rt.Hon. Friend raises an important question. It was the case in the past that housing built for students was not included in the old fashioned targets …..But I am pleased to let him know under our new system the answer is yes, they are included. And what’s more, they will attract the new Homes Bonus as well.”

Given the large student population of Bath, this is excellent news for the city which has for far too long been penalised by this planning anomaly.