NEW figures have revealed the growing gulf between the number of University of York students and the amount of accommodation provided on campus.

The figures, obtained from the university by Osbaldwick Parish Council under the Freedom of Information Act, show in 1999/2000 there were 8,525 students and 3,100 bed spaces on campus.

But by 2009/10, the number of students had grown to 13,908, while the number of bed spaces had grown only to 4,679.

The university also said student numbers were set to rise by another 5,400 through the current Heslington East expansion, but with 3,300 extra bed spaces to be created.

The figures emerged after City of York Council took further steps to reduce the growing number of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), many of which are student lets.

Three separate HMO applications, for Millfield Lane, Thief Lane and Low Mill Close, have all been refused permission by the east area planning committee following residents’ objections – despite officers recommending approval for two of the schemes.

Osbaldwick parish chairman Mark Warters said today the new powers to control HMOs were welcome, and the university figures proved what people in east York has long suspected – that student numbers had been growing far faster than the increase in campus accommodation.

He claimed the rise in student lets was increasing pressure for housing growth on green belt sites, such as land at Osbaldwick where the 540-home Derwenthorpe scheme was planned.

A university spokesman said the figures related to the total numbers of students, a proportion of whom were distance learners or local residents doing part-time or evening courses and therefore living at home.

“In any event, we cannot compel students to live on campus,” he said.

“Nevertheless, over the last five years the number of bed spaces that we are providing has increased by more than 37 per cent. In the last three years alone we have provided nearly 1,000 additional bed spaces. We have also spent £5 million refurbishing our existing student accommodation.”

He said a new college planned for Heslington East would have more than 600 beds and feature a range of social and welfare facilities.