Policy D3: Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA)
D3.1: In order to promote the creation of sustainable, inclusive and mixed communities and maintain an appropriate housing mix, any development proposal for new, extensions to, or conversions to, Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA), will be required to demonstrate:
- that there is a need for additional student accommodation; and
- it would not result in a significant negative impact on retail, employment, leisure, tourism or housing use, or would support the Council’s regeneration objectives; and
- consultation with the relevant education provider.
D3.2: Development proposals will not be permitted unless:
- not more than 10% of the total number of properties within 100 metres of the application site are already in use as HMOs or student accommodation exempt from council tax charges or the resulting student population is not more than 20% of the total population in that area; and
- the development is on or adjacent to an existing university or college academic site, or hospital and research site; and
- the design and layout of the student accommodation and siting of individual uses within the overall development are appropriate to its location in relation to adjacent neighbouring uses; and
- the design meets the appropriate criteria for student living accommodation as set out in the Building Regulations; and
- the internal design, layout and standard of accommodation and facilities is of appropriate standard; and
- the impacts from occupants of the development will not have an unacceptable impact upon the amenity of surrounding residents in itself or when considered alongside existing and approved student housing provision. Prior to occupation a management plan or draft outline management plan appropriate to the scale of the development shall be provided and approved by Durham County Council; and
- the quantity of cycle and car parking provided is in line with the Council’s Parking and Accessibility Guidelines and Policies T3 and T4 of this Plan; and
- the applicant has shown that the security of the building and its occupants has been considered along with that of other local residents and legitimate users.
D3.3: Where appropriate, development proposals in accordance with the above requirements should contribute to the re-use of listed buildings, heritage assets and other buildings with a particular heritage value.
Justification for Policies D2 and D3
4.153 Student accommodation in Durham City is one of the most frequently mentioned issues in our consultations (Durham City Neighbourhood Planning Forum, 2015), and the subject of much debate over many years. Working in partnership with the University and residents’ groups, the County Council has adopted an Interim Policy (Durham County Council, 2016h) to deal with applications to develop HMOs (houses in multiple occupation) and PBSAs (purpose built student accommodation) and this is incorporated into the County Council’s ‘Issues and Options’ document of the emerging County Development Plan (Durham County Council, 2016c, p.42, para 4.59). This is most welcome as an interim measure. Our Neighbourhood Plan provides the opportunity to make minor but vital improvements, and these are incorporated into Policies D2 and D3. The over-riding consideration within these policies on whether additional HMOs or PBSAs are acceptable is the principle laid down in the NPPF (para. 50) which enjoins local planning authorities to ” create sustainable, inclusive and mixed communities”. The context section above explains how ‘studentification’ can be and has been damaging to community harmony and balance. The interim policy carries forward saved policies H9, H13 and H16 from the Durham City Local Plan (City of Durham Council, 2004; Durham County Council, 2015a).
4.154 Implementation of the interim policy depends for HMOs (houses in multiple occupation) upon the introduction of an Article 4 Direction to remove certain householder development rights within a prescribed part of the City. Such a Direction was approved for a large part of the centre of the City and came into force on 17th September 2016. A further Direction for much of Framwellgate and Newton Hall came into force on 17th May 2017. In order to be able to resist the overspilling of HMO developments into the rest of Our Neighbourhood, we propose a third Direction to cover the remaining part of this area. This is an action which will be for the County Council to take forward. Similarly, an Article 7 Direction to control letting boards across Our Neighbourhood, which we also propose, is the responsibility of the County Council who carried out a public consultation in early 2017 and is now proceeding through the statutory procedures for adoption, hopefully in 2018.
Next section: Policy D4: Housing for Older People and People with Disabilities