University of Leeds
Inner North-West Community Strategy 2007-2012
In 2005, the University of leeds began a review of its Community
Strategy, originally published in 2000. Leeds HMO Lobby put
proposals to this Review [below]. On 26 June
2007, the University finally launched its Inner
North-West Community Strategy 2007-2012. The Lobby responded
with a Representation. The University
replied in October.
Leeds HMO Lobby, University of Leeds
Community Strategy Review
1 Leeds HMO Lobby welcomes the University of Leeds
Community Strategy Review – both the fact of the Strategy,
and the Review which is being conducted.
2 Leeds HMO Lobby is an association of associations,
a federation of community groups in & around Headingley. It
comprises some two-dozen groups, large and small, old and new, formal
and informal. These formed the Lobby in order to sustain their communities,
specifically in the face of the unique threat of concentrations
of HMOs (houses in multiple occupation), which in the Headingley
area take the form of HMOs housing Leeds universities’ students.
In particular, the Lobby was formed five years ago, in 2000, to
provide mutual support, to disseminate information, to co-ordinate
action and to represent the communities in & around Headingley.
The Lobby’s aims and activities are recorded on its website.
2.1 In its representative function, the Lobby is
recognised by Leeds City Council as representing the local communities,
on the basis of a thorough vetting of its membership, its structure
and its procedures. As such, the Lobby represents the community
on the Council’s Student Housing Project Group and on the
Leeds Landlord Accreditation Scheme, it represents the community
in the Leeds UDP Review – and it also did so in the consultations
on Leeds University’s Housing Strategy.
2.2 In its campaigning function, the Lobby has
made over thirty representations
to national bodies, and published over thirty policy
papers locally. In particular, the Lobby has invested considerable
effort in understanding the problems of the communities in NW Leeds,
in order to resolve them. The Lobby has sought –
· to understand the idea of community: see The
Concept of Community (shortly due for publication in the
collection Returning (to) Communities);
· to analyse the process and product of studentification:
· to identify its main effects on the community: see Symptoms
· to propose actions to remedy these effects: see Student
Housing Action Plan (which is a proposal for a revision
of Leeds City Council’s Shared Housing Action Plan, itself
currently the subject of review).
3 Leeds HMO Lobby anticipates that the University
of Leeds’ Community Strategy (like any strategy) will be grounded
in its aims. Any community’s ultimate aim (like that of any
living organisation) is to sustain itself. Ironically, the necessity
for a strategy for the local community arises from the presence
of the University itself.
3.1 The local community’s aim
is sustainability – and so it hopes that this too
is the aim of the University’s Strategy. ODPM identifies eight
characteristics of a sustainable community (active, inclusive &
safe; well run; environmentally sensitive; well designed & built;
well connected; thriving; well served; and fair for everyone). Until
ten years ago, all of these characteristics flourished in &
around Headingley. Developments within the last decade however have
eroded them all. The prime cause is the loss of the pre-requisite
for a sustainable community, that is, a balanced and stable population.
This loss is the effect of the University’s rapid expansion
of its student intake, so that it now dominates the local population
– hence, the studentification of Headingley.
3.2 The primary objective of the
University’s Strategy must be the restoration of the demographic
balance in & around Headingley. Leeds HMO Lobby has identified
two objectives in particular: (1) to reduce the proportion
of students in Headingley Ward to 33% of the population by the Census
in 2011; and (2) to increase the proportion of students
accommodated outside ASHORE to 33% of those not living at home,
by the same date. In addition, the Egan Review (2004) has
identified fifty indicators of a sustainable community. The Lobby
proposes (3) that some of these indicators be adopted as the objectives
of the Community Strategy.
4 Leeds HMO Lobby has proposed a new Student
Housing Action Plan to address the whole issue of studentification
in & around Headingley. SHAP2 is intended to tackle both its
causes and its effects. The Lobby recognises that
the University’s Housing Strategy is necessary to address
the causes. However, it is not sufficient. (1) The Housing Strategy
is only partially concerned with demographic imbalance, (2) most
students live outside University provision (in the private sector),
and (3) redressing the imbalance requires measures beyond simply
a Housing Strategy. The following measures may be considered for
inclusion in one or other of the University’s Strategies.
1) Share experience of tackling studentification with other universities,
especially through UUK’s forthcoming Guidance.
2) Review the Housing Strategy, especially with reference to the
3) Support a dedicated LCC Student Housing Co-ordinator.
4) Support an Annual Review of the Student Housing Action Plan.
5) Support ASHORE and its revision.
6) Support the introduction of mandatory HMO licensing by LCC, and
lobby LCC to apply to ODPM for additional HMO Licensing within ASHORE
(see License the Lot).
7) Support the enforcement of housing standards by LCC and Unipol.
8) Monitor student numbers in ASHORE.
9) Develop student housing provision outside ASHORE.
10) Promote guidance to students to housing outside ASHORE (see
in the City).
11) Monitor student numbers throughout Leeds.
12) Support an Area Action Plan
for Inner NW Leeds.
13) Support affordable housing initiatives in Inner NW Leeds, such
as a Special Purpose Vehicle and/or a Community Land Trust.
14) Promote the Community
15) Maintain bilateral dialogue with the local community.
16) Support liaison between students and the local community.
17) Support the promotion of Inner NW Leeds, for instance, the Leeds
Left Bank initiative.
18) Support an annual Sustainability Assessment in & around
Headingley (e.g. through the Helpline).
19) Promote the University’s disciplinary procedures.
20) Support Community Safety initiatives in & around Headingley.
21) Support environmental initiatives in & around Headingley,
such as the Headingley Design Statement, Streetscene, litter-picks,
clean-ups, garden maintenance, parking permits, development control,
and so on.
22) Support economic initiatives in & around Headingley, such
as Headingley Renaissance, the Cumulative Impact Policy
for licensing, and so on.
5 Leeds HMO Lobby hopes to have the opportunity
to make a positive contribution to the University of Leeds Community
Leeds HMO Lobby, 4 July 2005
LEEDS HMO LOBBY Representation on
University of Leeds Inner North-West Community Strategy 2007-2012
Leeds HMO Lobby makes five main points on the University of Leeds'
Inner North-West Community Strategy 2007-2012, published
on 26 June 2007.
1 Leeds HMO Lobby of course welcomes
the publication of the Community Strategy. The University was a
pioneer in this regard in 2000. That it still remains the exception,
rather than the rule, is unfortunately a poor reflection on the
rest of the HE sector.
2 Leeds HMO Lobby however regrets
the complete omission from the Strategy of what is in fact the over-riding
concern in the local community regarding the impact of the University
- which is of course the demographic imbalance arising
from the colonisation of huge areas in & around Headingley by
students at the University (and other HEIs). For instance, in one
quarter-square-mile of 72 streets in South Headingley, with a population
of 10,000, students outnumber residents by two-to-one (and some
streets are almost entirely student houses) (Census 2001). This
imbalance towards a young and transient population does enormous
damage, most importantly to the social capital of the neighbourhood.
This is what matters most to the community, since it threatens its
very existence. At the same time, it makes a nonsense of the stated
themes of the strategy.
2.1 Communication: This theme subscribes to the
woolly-liberal fallacy that there is a 'talking cure' for structural
2.2 Cohesive Communities: The very idea of integration
is a nonsense in (for instance) a street of 54 houses, of which
51 are student houses (Chestnut Avenue).
2.3 Matching Resources to Needs: The potential
benefits of the University's presence pale into insignificance in
comparison with its cost to the local community.
3 Communication: Despite the fallacy noted in
2.1, the Strategy itself fails to live up to its aspiration to communicate.
Eight consultation workshops are cited (p9), but all of these deliberately
ignored the representative organisation set up by the community
itself specifically for the purpose of dialogue - that is, Leeds
HMO Lobby itself. And the preparation of the Strategy text did not
seek the benefit of dialogue and critique. (The community's perspective
on the emerging Strategy was articulated in the Lobby's University
of Leeds Community Strategy Review of July 2005 [above].)
4 Cohesive Communities: In addition to the redundancy
of the notion of integration (2.2), the Strategy neglects a key
issue arising from imbalance, the subjection of residents to the
indiscipline of the University's students. Leeds HMO Lobby has proposed
five criteria for a credible disciplinary policy by the University
(comprising visibility, co-ordination, expedition,
escalation and credibility, see Keeping
the Peace). But the Strategy has nothing at all to say
about the indiscipline of students, which does so much damage to
the repute of the University and its students.
5 Matching Resources to Needs: Apart from the
cost/benefit balance noted in 2.3, the Strategy neglects to engage
with the community's own efforts to restore sustainability in Inner
NW Leeds. The need for such a restoration is widely acknowledged,
and is indeed a principal objective of the Shared Housing Action
Plan (to which the University subscribes). But the Strategy makes
no reference, for instance, to the Leeds
Left Bank project - in which it could (should) be a key
Leeds HMO Lobby looks forward to discussing these points at the
next meeting of the University's Community & Housing Forum.
In the mean time, the Lobby would be pleased to take advantage of
the Community Policy Officer's offer to attend our organisation.
Dr Richard Tyler, Co-ordinator, Leeds HMO Lobby, 4 July 2007
University of Leeds, Response
to Leeds HMO Lobby regarding the University of Leeds Inner North-West
Community Strategy 2007-2012
The University welcomes the response from Leeds HMO Lobby.
This response addresses the 5 main points raised by the HMO Lobby:
1. The University of Leeds appreciates the recognition as being
a pioneer in this field over the last 7 years.
2. The University acknowledges that the HMO lobby represents a
significant number of community members that see demographic imbalance
as the overriding concern. However the University also views students
and young professionals as part of the community and that they may
not entirely share the views of the HMO Lobby. It should
also be made clear that the University did not intend to omit demographic
imbalance as an issue. The primary driver for the joint
production of the Community Strategy and Housing Strategy Update
and the complementarity between the two documents ensures that there
is a cohesive approach to both the strategic representation and
activity to support the development of sustainable communities.
The University regrets the view of the HMO lobby that the themes
of the strategy are ‘nonsense.’ Explicitly communication
was identified during the public consultation as the key theme.
Communication, whilst not a cure in itself is necessary to engage
the community and the University in a genuine two-way dialogue which
can then lead to action on the ground.
Cohesive communities refers to the broader support and integration
of students as active citizens. The strategy document refers to
the whole of Inner North West Leeds and therefore takes the view
that the issue is being considered in areas that have differing
levels of student occupation. It does however also recognise
that in certain areas that the concentration of students creates
significant problems in creating a sustainable community.
The University understands that for some people in Inner North-West
Leeds that its benefits ‘pale into insignificance in comparison
with its cost to the local community.’ It should also be recognised
within Inner North West Leeds that there are substantial economic
and social benefits to having a large student population. It
is acknowledged that in some areas the loss of community can not
be mitigated by an increased access to resources and facilities.
3. The University of Leeds attended a specific meeting with the
HMO Lobby in order for them to express their views and concerns.
Richard Tyler, as Head of the Lobby, was invited and attended one
of the consultation events as well as hosting the meeting with the
4. As Leeds HMO Lobby are aware the University was the first University
to set up a Helpline for students and local residents to raise concerns
about their local area. This process has undergone a rigorous reassessment
and strengthening of procedures to deal with concerns including
the behaviour of students. This has been approved at the highest
level within the University and its relaunch alongside the community
strategy provides a clear role and remit of the University in dealing
with issues of this nature. The University has also implemented
an internal critical incident plan to deal with major incidents.
It is also important to recognise that the University managed to
secure the involvement of Leeds Met in the service as this was identified
as the major weakness during the public consultation.
5. The University disagrees that it ‘neglects to engage
with the community’s own efforts to restore sustainability’.
The University through representation on the Inner North-West District
Partnership is a key player in developments in the area. The University
has not formally subscribed to the ‘Leeds Left bank Project’
but neither has it failed to recognise it as a proposal by the HMO
Lobby. The University is keen to be involved in new developments
such as the Neighbourhood Design Statement and other broader regeneration
Emphasis added by Leeds HMO Lobby
Leeds HMO Lobby