Leeds HMO Lobby
What is a HMO?
Studentification in Leeds
Use Classes Order
Students & Community
National HMO Lobby
Leeds HMO Lobby
North West District Plan
The North West District Plan covers the NW Wedge of Leeds, and
was prepared by the NW District Partnership. The first draft was
published early in 2005, and on 13 May, the Lobby contributed
to the consultation on the draft District Plan. However, in April
2006, without further consultation, the District Plan was revised.
Leeds HMO Lobby responded on 3 July 2006.
North West District
Leeds HMO Lobby welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the development
of the NW District Action Plan.
A Harmonious & Safer Communities
Action A4 is welcome, but confusingly
described. It is evidently concerned with addressing the impact
of the HEIs in Inner NW. Perhaps this should be made clear to start
· The Actions should begin with a general statement,
followed by (a) SHAP (the Shared/Student Housing Action Plan); the
other two Actions, (b) ASHORE and (c) partnership, are actually
included within SHAP.
· The Priorities addressed certainly include 'co-ordination'
and 'cohesion'; but none of the Actions specified are directly concerned
· The Outcomes follow from the Actions (and don't
explicitly mention crime).
· It seems odd therefore that the Lead Organisation
is the Police - they are not involved in any of the Actions, nor
are they regularly represented on the Student Housing Project Group
(which has responsibility for overseeing the implementation of SHAP).
The SHPG should be the lead organisation. And since nearly everything
SHPG has done has been at the instigation of Leeds HMO Lobby, the
Lobby should be identified as a key partner.
· At the Lobby's instigation, SHAP has been the subject of
a review; unfortunately, the Lobby finds the draft Review quite
unacceptable. The Lobby's alternative proposal covers the whole
of A4, and more. (The Lobby’s Proposed
SHAP2 is attached, and is also available online.)
· The Lobby recommends that A4 also includes promotion of
Code ('Say Hello, Keep the Peace, Clean Up'), proposed
by the Lobby. This was adopted by Area Committee's sub-group CHEF,
with the idea that it should be promoted by all parties, at all
B Thriving Places
Action B1 on affordable housing is welcome.
But it doesn't address the problem of affordable housing in Inner
NW. The Actions are all concerned with new sites or new
units. The last thing Inner NW needs is more development, it's overcrowded
already. Our problem is the disproportionate number of properties
in the PRS, which has priced out owner-occupation and social housing.
B1 should include measures to redress
the balance, especially if the demand for the PRS declines (there
are clear indications that it may). The Lobby makes suggestions
in Section D of our Proposed SHAP2.
Action B6 The Lead Organisation
should be 'Student Housing Project Group', not 'SHAG'.
Action B8 The Lobby proposes an additional
Action B8. The new planning regime, of
Local Development Frameworks, provides for Area Action Plans for
areas of significant change or conservation. We believe there is
a good case to argue that Inner NW qualifies for an AAP. B8
· Action: Develop an Area
Action Plan for Inner NW Leeds.
· Priorities: (1) affordable housing, (3) decent
homes [also priorities A(3) cohesion and C(2) environment].
· Outcomes: implementation of ASHORE, of Headingley
Renaissance, of Far Headingley Design Statement, development
of Statements for other neighbourhoods (like Headingley) [see Action
F6], use of HMO licensing to reduce PRS, promotion of Inner NW [see
Action G2], etc.
· Timescales: depends on LDF.
· Lead Organisation: LCC Development Dept; partners:
include NWAMT, Housing and Leeds HMO Lobby.
Despite District Priority (1) ‘Improving transport infrastructure
- key roads and transport flow’, there is no reference to
restraint on parking. In parts of Inner NW this is a severe problem,
arising from the concentration of the population in HMOs (student
houses have two-and-half times the average of Leeds for cars per
household). It is not simply an inconvenience for residents, it
also obstructs public transport, it obstructs trade, and it is dangerous
- often obstructing pedestrians (pavement parking), cleansing vehicles
- and potentially, emergency vehicles.
Despite District Priority (6) ‘Increasing involvement in
Further and Higher Education’, there are no Actions
referring to FE or to HE.
· In the first case, Inner NW has FE provision only at Park
Lane College’s Brudenell Centre, which (like the schools)
is under threat from a reduced intake (of local adults).
· In the latter case, there is no reference to local recruitment
to HE, beneficial not only to the local population, but also to
the problems of studentification.
F Enterprise & Economy
Action F6 should make clear that Design
Statements are as applicable to city suburbs as to villages - witness
Far Headingley; and Headingley has plans to follow Far Headingley's
Action G2 is welcome, as it implements
the Lobby’s proposal for Leeds
· However, it is not clear why the Action is described as
a ‘feasibility study’. Leeds Left Bank is intended
to be 'a cultural, promotional & marketing strategy' for Inner
NW – which would seem to require a policy decision, rather
than a feasibility study.
· Action G6 is described as ‘developing
a cultural, promotional & marketing strategy for the area.'
This Action therefore duplicates Action G2.
· Action G2 has the additional
benefit that it also relates back to the priorities of most of the
previous Sections (improving well-being, improving quality of life,
improving pride, improving learning generally, etc).
Leeds HMO Lobby will be pleased to elaborate on any of these points.
Leeds HMO Lobby, 6 June 2005
Representation on the
North West District Plan
1. Leeds HMO Lobby is an association of associations,
a coalition of all the local community associations in Inner NW
Leeds affected by concentrations of HMOs (houses in multiple occupation),
campaigning for action to ameliorate the impact of these concentrations
on the sustainability of their communities. It was recognised by
Leeds City Council in 2001 as representative of the community on
the Council’s Private Rented Sector Strategy Group, and on
its sub-committee, the Shared Housing Group (formerly the Student
Housing Project Group). The Lobby also represents the community
in other fora where HMOs are an issue, such as the Area Committee
and its sub-groups, the Leeds Landlords Accreditation Scheme, and
2. Leeds HMO Lobby has contributed to the development of the North
West District Plan. We attended the North West Leeds District
Partnership conference Making it Happen in Horsforth on
2 Feb 2005, from which the District Plan first emerged, and to which
we specifically contributed a Leeds Left Bank proposal.
On 13 May, the Lobby contributed to the consultation on the draft
District Plan. We attended the North West Leeds District Partnership
conference Delivering Priorities & Engaging Effectively
in Headingley on 15 July 2005. The next that was heard of the District
Plan, a year later, was a Report on the District Partnership tabled
at the meeting of the Inner NW Area Committee in Headingley on 29
June 2006 – when the Lobby learned that a major revision of
the Plan, reducing it from 157 actions to 39, had been agreed by
the Partnership Board in April.
3. Leeds HMO Lobby has fundamental criticisms of the new District
Plan. The first of these is that the Plan fails to recognise the
principal problem in Inner NW Leeds, namely the
development of studentification, which now dominates some
two-thirds of the Inner Area. Not one of the 35 District Priorities
in the Plan even alludes to studentification, and only one of 39
actions is concerned with the issue. Yet its impact is both broad
and deep – student shared housing dominates at least two square
miles of the Inner Area, and students constitute the majority of
the population in Headingley Ward and adjacent parts of all the
other wards. The distorted demographic (transient, seasonal young
adults) impacts on all elements of the District Plan, including
Harmonious Communities (lost cohesion), Thriving Places (dominated
by second-homes), Environment (degraded), Transport (seasonal congestion),
Learning (lost services), Enterprise & Economy (a ‘resort’
economy), Culture (a monoculture), even Health & Well-being
(lifestyle & isolation). The unsustainability of the community
is especially marked by democratic disengagement. (‘Studentification’
is now acknowledged by universities and government as a national
problem, in Universities UK’s report on Studentification,
2006. Omission of this problem from the District Plan is equivalent
to overlooking the impact of the Knostrop sewage works in the Aire
Valley Action Plan.)
4. Leeds HMO Lobby’s second fundamental criticism of the
District Plan is that the solutions proposed are
ineffectual. The actions may be more ‘deliverable’,
as the Area Committee Report suggests, but that simply means that
they are avoiding the difficult problems. More seriously, those
proposed follow standard lines of action. These may well be relevant
and effective in more ‘normal’ areas. But in Inner NW
Leeds, many are largely irrelevant, and many simply don’t
work with a predominantly unstable population. The Area Committee
has resorted to extreme available measures (like the Cumulative
Impact Policy and the Designated Public Places Order), but it has
also pursued innovative policies (like ASHORE, the Direction on
Letting Boards, and the award-winning appointment of a Community
Planning Officer). The District Plan needs to do likewise. The one
action which does address studentification is frankly insulting.
Action A3 has no greater ambition than “improving community
relations in the areas with significant student population.”
(Such a superficial approach was roundly rejected by MPs in the
Commons Seminar on Studentification on 27 June 2006, hosted
by the MP for Leeds NW.) One outcome of Action A3 is the new Shared
Housing Action Plan (SHAP2), one of whose objectives is “to
reduce the number of students in full-time education accommodated
within the Area of Housing Mix as a proportion of the population,
by the Census in 2011.” The actions assembled in SHAP2 need
to be endorsed and extended by the District Plan.
5. Leeds HMO Lobby’s final fundamental criticism of the District
Plan is that it lacks vision. It’s not that
it is ‘less visionary’ (according to the Area Committee
Report) but there is no clear vision for the Inner Area at all.
There is no shortage of vision among the remaining resident rump
in the area. Supported by the Area Committee, residents have produced
Headingley Renaissance (2005), ‘the community’s
vision for a balanced and sustainable future.’ The Heal Headingley
communication network vigorously promotes a balanced, sustainable
community. Headingley Development Trust has been founded by residents
to intervene pro-actively to regain sustainability. Leeds HMO Lobby
proposed the Leeds Left Bank
strategy, grounded in widespread grassroots support, which has been
dropped from the District Plan. The Lobby calls for the restoration
of this vision. Without such a vision, how can we make things
6. Leeds HMO Lobby suspects that the flaws in the district Plan
may originate in the constitution of the District Partnership
itself. The two Area Committees, Leeds NW PCT, Leeds NW Homes, Education
Leeds, West Yorkshire Police – all clearly have an interest
in the District, and are essential partners in its development.
But are not residents also partners? And is their voice not essential,
when the Partnership also includes special-interest corporations
like the universities and the airport – whose own interests
may conflict profoundly with those of residents. The Lobby regrets
that there has been no public consultation on the revised District
7. Leeds HMO Lobby concludes that the North West
District Plan lacks both credibility and legitimacy. On behalf of
the residents it represents, the Lobby declares that the Plan as
it stands is unacceptable.
Leeds HMO Lobby, 3 July 2006
Leeds HMO Lobby