City of York Council’s housing claims slammed

Published in News York Press: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

COUNCIL officials have come under fire over claims that York has experienced a significant increase in the number of homes built – using figures which included a huge new student block.

City of York Council chief executive Kersten England tweeted that the number of completions in the first six months of this year was up on the figure for the whole of last year.

But the net gain of 294 completions includes 124 of the student flats at a new complex built on the old dairy site in Hull Road.

The council says they are included in the figures because they are managed by a private landlord and not the University of York, and also says their inclusion is in line with Government guidelines.

But York developer John Reeves claimed that to include halls of residence in housing figures was “misleading and downright wrong,” adding that such a calculation ultimately affected every other housing statistic produced by the council and made them all incorrect.

York architect Matthew Laverack claimed: “Specialist student blocks are no substitute for proper houses and flats. The construction of student blocks will make not the slightest difference to houses currently occupied by students.

“The chief executive tweets that housing completions are “significantly up” when it is not houses at all, nor flats. It is student rooms in clusters occupied temporarily in term time. This is not what any reasonable person would regard as “housing” in the normal sense of the word.” Quantity surveyor Paul Cordock claimed the inclusion of student accommodation as housing was a vain attempt to mislead residents.

However, Coun Dave Merrett, cabinet member for planning, said students were York residents too, and their presence impacted on housing demand, and so it was “entirely appropriate” that extra student units should be counted in the figures.

He said there had been a major increase in student occupation of local housing, particularly near the universities, increasing pressure in the housing market. “Provision of new specialist student housing will therefore help to address this pressure,” he said.

“If purpose-built student housing was not being delivered, that would be extra demand on the existing housing stock, competing with ordinary York families.”

Comments (18)

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10:04am Thu 8 Nov 12

Mr Trellis says...

The architects of Yorks failed housing policy are clutching at straws with these bocus statistics. Typical York council
The architects of Yorks failed housing policy are clutching at straws with these bocus statistics. Typical York council Mr Trellis
  • Score: 0

10:18am Thu 8 Nov 12

CllrPSHealey says...

News Management 1:01

How to turn a good story bad?

Tweet without context!
News Management 1:01 How to turn a good story bad? Tweet without context! CllrPSHealey
  • Score: 0

10:46am Thu 8 Nov 12

AngryandFrustrated says...

Absolutley typical! By including halls of residence, you may as well include new hotel rooms in the figures too! I'm sure this is nothing new tho' - I seem to remember they included the rooms at the Arc Light Centre one year!
Absolutley typical! By including halls of residence, you may as well include new hotel rooms in the figures too! I'm sure this is nothing new tho' - I seem to remember they included the rooms at the Arc Light Centre one year! AngryandFrustrated
  • Score: 0

10:52am Thu 8 Nov 12

smith63 says...

Ok, so we are talking about a tweet here - not mch space for details and the figures follow government guidelines.
Lets presume the 124 student flats were not built. Where would the students go - into 'new' student rental houses that would remove the availability for non-students. Ok, so 124 student flats = 124 students and this is not the same as 124 houses but this article seems to be making a mountain out of a molehill!
Ok, so we are talking about a tweet here - not mch space for details and the figures follow government guidelines. Lets presume the 124 student flats were not built. Where would the students go - into 'new' student rental houses that would remove the availability for non-students. Ok, so 124 student flats = 124 students and this is not the same as 124 houses but this article seems to be making a mountain out of a molehill! smith63
  • Score: 0

11:19am Thu 8 Nov 12

York1900 says...

student lets should be counted as housing as students take up housing in York that are family housing converted to student lets
You can make the case any which way you want on this subject but it just shows that private landlords do not want to rent to family's they only want high profit student lets were they can rent a house out to students for twice or three times as much as they can rent to a family

.
student lets should be counted as housing as students take up housing in York that are family housing converted to student lets You can make the case any which way you want on this subject but it just shows that private landlords do not want to rent to family's they only want high profit student lets were they can rent a house out to students for twice or three times as much as they can rent to a family . York1900
  • Score: 0

12:52pm Thu 8 Nov 12

old_geezer says...

Surely all that's needed is breakdown for what most of us think of as housing, students blocks, and any others. A single figure is suspect even if not intended to mislead.
Surely all that's needed is breakdown for what most of us think of as housing, students blocks, and any others. A single figure is suspect even if not intended to mislead. old_geezer
  • Score: 0

1:49pm Thu 8 Nov 12

Choir2 says...

How much money does the council lose through student accommodation being free of rates. Does the owner of the property have to pay anything? Here in France there are two taxes, one for the owner, and one for the occupier - Owner occupiers pay both..
How much money does the council lose through student accommodation being free of rates. Does the owner of the property have to pay anything? Here in France there are two taxes, one for the owner, and one for the occupier - Owner occupiers pay both.. Choir2
  • Score: 0

1:59pm Thu 8 Nov 12

meme says...

if the 'statistics' include halls of residence and these statistics are used to calculate future demand for family homes it means that there is a worse undersupply of homes than thought
Trying to fool themselves and everyone else into believing all is better is just madness and harms everyone.
For goodness sake York be honest. There is a problem...admit it, solve the issue and when things do get better then congratulate yourselves with decent honest figures...... not spin
if the 'statistics' include halls of residence and these statistics are used to calculate future demand for family homes it means that there is a worse undersupply of homes than thought Trying to fool themselves and everyone else into believing all is better is just madness and harms everyone. For goodness sake York be honest. There is a problem...admit it, solve the issue and when things do get better then congratulate yourselves with decent honest figures...... not spin meme
  • Score: 0

2:02pm Thu 8 Nov 12

meme says...

One other thing the new policy of houses in multiple occupation needing licences will cause even more problems than it solves.
More homes in other areas will be lost to students...Why not keep them in the same sustainable area?
Plus at a stroke houses in multiple occupation shot up in value because of scarcity of licences!! Well done CoYC another own goal
One other thing the new policy of houses in multiple occupation needing licences will cause even more problems than it solves. More homes in other areas will be lost to students...Why not keep them in the same sustainable area? Plus at a stroke houses in multiple occupation shot up in value because of scarcity of licences!! Well done CoYC another own goal meme
  • Score: 0

2:52pm Thu 8 Nov 12

Turpinette says...

Those students in the new block must be the poorest ones from the uni, none of them seem able to afford blinds or curtains, or seem aware that everybody can see in to their flats once it gets dark.
Those students in the new block must be the poorest ones from the uni, none of them seem able to afford blinds or curtains, or seem aware that everybody can see in to their flats once it gets dark. Turpinette
  • Score: 0

3:44pm Thu 8 Nov 12

the andrew says...

Turpinette wrote:
Those students in the new block must be the poorest ones from the uni, none of them seem able to afford blinds or curtains, or seem aware that everybody can see in to their flats once it gets dark.
......and it is only half full even though it was completed before term started.
Student letting agency next door, mind boggles.
[quote][p][bold]Turpinette[/bold] wrote: Those students in the new block must be the poorest ones from the uni, none of them seem able to afford blinds or curtains, or seem aware that everybody can see in to their flats once it gets dark.[/p][/quote]......and it is only half full even though it was completed before term started. Student letting agency next door, mind boggles. the andrew
  • Score: 0

4:47pm Thu 8 Nov 12

nowthen says...

Just came across this on the BBC website:

The number of people waiting for council housing in York has risen by more than 70% in a year.

The City of York Council said the growth in demand was due to the high cost of property in the city.

Housing charity Shelter said the average private rent in the city for a two-bedroom home was around £650.

The Labour-run council said more than 4,500 people were now on its waiting list for homes but supply was "limited".

Tracey Simpson-Laing, deputy leader of the council, said: "York is one of the most expensive areas outside the south east of the country.

"People are coming to us saying we need a council or housing association home but the supply is limited."

In September 2011 there were 2,731 people waiting for a property. By October 2012 the figure had risen to 4,674.
Just came across this on the BBC website: The number of people waiting for council housing in York has risen by more than 70% in a year. The City of York Council said the growth in demand was due to the high cost of property in the city. Housing charity Shelter said the average private rent in the city for a two-bedroom home was around £650. The Labour-run council said more than 4,500 people were now on its waiting list for homes but supply was "limited". Tracey Simpson-Laing, deputy leader of the council, said: "York is one of the most expensive areas outside the south east of the country. "People are coming to us saying we need a council or housing association home but the supply is limited." In September 2011 there were 2,731 people waiting for a property. By October 2012 the figure had risen to 4,674. nowthen
  • Score: 0

4:57pm Thu 8 Nov 12

Scarlet Pimpernel says...

smith63 wrote:
Ok, so we are talking about a tweet here - not mch space for details and the figures follow government guidelines. Lets presume the 124 student flats were not built. Where would the students go - into 'new' student rental houses that would remove the availability for non-students. Ok, so 124 student flats = 124 students and this is not the same as 124 houses but this article seems to be making a mountain out of a molehill!
This is a serious and wrongful spinning of statistics.

The student accommodation being counted as housing, is not subject to affordable housing rules, and therefore should not be counted as housing. There have been numerous student accommodation schemes most recently over 500 units in Navigation Road, but, these were not counted.

The article also does not explain that the Hull Road site has a total of 394 student beds, but only each cluster that has a kitchen can be counted as a 'dwelling', which is why they only count 124 units. This is farcical, inconsistent and almost arbitrary. They will be counting caravans next !
[quote][p][bold]smith63[/bold] wrote: Ok, so we are talking about a tweet here - not mch space for details and the figures follow government guidelines. Lets presume the 124 student flats were not built. Where would the students go - into 'new' student rental houses that would remove the availability for non-students. Ok, so 124 student flats = 124 students and this is not the same as 124 houses but this article seems to be making a mountain out of a molehill![/p][/quote]This is a serious and wrongful spinning of statistics. The student accommodation being counted as housing, is not subject to affordable housing rules, and therefore should not be counted as housing. There have been numerous student accommodation schemes most recently over 500 units in Navigation Road, but, these were not counted. The article also does not explain that the Hull Road site has a total of 394 student beds, but only each cluster that has a kitchen can be counted as a 'dwelling', which is why they only count 124 units. This is farcical, inconsistent and almost arbitrary. They will be counting caravans next ! Scarlet Pimpernel
  • Score: 0

5:04pm Thu 8 Nov 12

Scarlet Pimpernel says...

Turpinette wrote:
Those students in the new block must be the poorest ones from the uni, none of them seem able to afford blinds or curtains, or seem aware that everybody can see in to their flats once it gets dark.
Have you seen the rents ?

Google 'UniLiving York' - the development is known as 'The Boulevard'

Rents per week range from £123.90 to £185.00 - over double the going rate of a bedroom in a shared house. The students who can afford these must have rich parents ?
[quote][p][bold]Turpinette[/bold] wrote: Those students in the new block must be the poorest ones from the uni, none of them seem able to afford blinds or curtains, or seem aware that everybody can see in to their flats once it gets dark.[/p][/quote]Have you seen the rents ? Google 'UniLiving York' - the development is known as 'The Boulevard' Rents per week range from £123.90 to £185.00 - over double the going rate of a bedroom in a shared house. The students who can afford these must have rich parents ? Scarlet Pimpernel
  • Score: 0

8:52pm Thu 8 Nov 12

gmsgop says...

smith63 wrote:
Ok, so we are talking about a tweet here - not mch space for details and the figures follow government guidelines.
Lets presume the 124 student flats were not built. Where would the students go - into 'new' student rental houses that would remove the availability for non-students. Ok, so 124 student flats = 124 students and this is not the same as 124 houses but this article seems to be making a mountain out of a molehill!
yeah, that is exactly what I was thinking..all the official counting has to go on.. But we need to understand the net positive or negative housing impact of these new units.. So x university builds x units, but increases intake by x times 2... Negative impact on house availability... But if they increase units and not numbers... Then more housing available for locals?
[quote][p][bold]smith63[/bold] wrote: Ok, so we are talking about a tweet here - not mch space for details and the figures follow government guidelines. Lets presume the 124 student flats were not built. Where would the students go - into 'new' student rental houses that would remove the availability for non-students. Ok, so 124 student flats = 124 students and this is not the same as 124 houses but this article seems to be making a mountain out of a molehill![/p][/quote]yeah, that is exactly what I was thinking..all the official counting has to go on.. But we need to understand the net positive or negative housing impact of these new units.. So x university builds x units, but increases intake by x times 2... Negative impact on house availability... But if they increase units and not numbers... Then more housing available for locals? gmsgop
  • Score: 0

12:10am Fri 9 Nov 12

ruavinalaughf? says...

meme wrote:
One other thing the new policy of houses in multiple occupation needing licences will cause even more problems than it solves. More homes in other areas will be lost to students...Why not keep them in the same sustainable area? Plus at a stroke houses in multiple occupation shot up in value because of scarcity of licences!! Well done CoYC another own goal
HMO licensing has been in place since the Housing Act 2004 came into force in 2006. I think you are getting confused with the Article 4 Directive (the requirement for planning consent for change of use from C3 'Dwelling House' to C4 'HMO') which sets quotas for HMO's at ward and street level. At present there are a lot of empty HMO's because landlords got greedy this year and asked for too much rent when student admissions (and therefore demand) was down. Those properties located furthest away from the Universities were most badly affected by this as they were less attractive. The building of student accomodation by the private sector (e.g. UniLiving on Hull Road) at the same time (but completed too late for the 2012-13 intake - 75% of units are unoccupied) threw the market into further confusion. Next year will be interesting - will hard pressed students gravitate towards the cheaper rent offered by landlords of properties further out who are desperate to avoid a second year without tenants/rent OR will they be prepared to pay pemium rents for higher quality accomodation nearer to the University at UniLiving? Article 4 has added further confusion to an already confused market as landlords of properties with established use' as 'C4 HMO' would rather keep them empty for a year than rent it out to a family which would require them to reapply for 'change of use' back to C4 HMO if they later wanted to revert back to a shared house. The only thing you are right about is that Article 4 has resulted in a sale premium for properties that have exisiting use as HMO's. At the end of the day, like or not, Article 4 was a value judgment intended to stop the haemorage of family accommodation in the city. Hands up anyone who gives a **** that some private landlords will not be getting richer because of it?
[quote][p][bold]meme[/bold] wrote: One other thing the new policy of houses in multiple occupation needing licences will cause even more problems than it solves. More homes in other areas will be lost to students...Why not keep them in the same sustainable area? Plus at a stroke houses in multiple occupation shot up in value because of scarcity of licences!! Well done CoYC another own goal[/p][/quote]HMO licensing has been in place since the Housing Act 2004 came into force in 2006. I think you are getting confused with the Article 4 Directive (the requirement for planning consent for change of use from C3 'Dwelling House' to C4 'HMO') which sets quotas for HMO's at ward and street level. At present there are a lot of empty HMO's because landlords got greedy this year and asked for too much rent when student admissions (and therefore demand) was down. Those properties located furthest away from the Universities were most badly affected by this as they were less attractive. The building of student accomodation by the private sector (e.g. UniLiving on Hull Road) at the same time (but completed too late for the 2012-13 intake - 75% of units are unoccupied) threw the market into further confusion. Next year will be interesting - will hard pressed students gravitate towards the cheaper rent offered by landlords of properties further out who are desperate to avoid a second year without tenants/rent OR will they be prepared to pay pemium rents for higher quality accomodation nearer to the University at UniLiving? Article 4 has added further confusion to an already confused market as landlords of properties with established use' as 'C4 HMO' would rather keep them empty for a year than rent it out to a family which would require them to reapply for 'change of use' back to C4 HMO if they later wanted to revert back to a shared house. The only thing you are right about is that Article 4 has resulted in a sale premium for properties that have exisiting use as HMO's. At the end of the day, like or not, Article 4 was a value judgment intended to stop the haemorage of family accommodation in the city. Hands up anyone who gives a **** that some private landlords will not be getting richer because of it? ruavinalaughf?
  • Score: 0

1:23am Fri 9 Nov 12

Scarlet Pimpernel says...

I'm sure that Tracey won't 'give a ****' that proper new family housing completions in the city are actually continuing to decline, and will continue to do so until the council reduces it's unworkable affordable housing requirements. Afterall, this is exactly what the ruling Labour councillors are hoping for, so they can blame the government for the housing crisis in York. Where they are being caught out is, that most councils are actually experiencing an upturn in completions, which exposes the incompetence and malicious actions of York Council for retaining prohibitive AH targets, thereby causing the housing crisis to worsen. Don't be fooled the council are at fault, not the government !

Sorry Tracey, you are WRONG !
I'm sure that Tracey won't 'give a ****' that proper new family housing completions in the city are actually continuing to decline, and will continue to do so until the council reduces it's unworkable affordable housing requirements. Afterall, this is exactly what the ruling Labour councillors are hoping for, so they can blame the government for the housing crisis in York. Where they are being caught out is, that most councils are actually experiencing an upturn in completions, which exposes the incompetence and malicious actions of York Council for retaining prohibitive AH targets, thereby causing the housing crisis to worsen. Don't be fooled the council are at fault, not the government ! Sorry Tracey, you are WRONG ! Scarlet Pimpernel
  • Score: 0

9:00pm Fri 9 Nov 12

Thunderblade says...

Well, well, well. What a surprise! It appears Merrett is making the figures fit yet again.
Well, well, well. What a surprise! It appears Merrett is making the figures fit yet again. Thunderblade
  • Score: 0

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