The City of Lincoln Council has predicted that the need for student housing will be “greatly reduced” by 2026.
Council leaders will on Monday discuss the authority’s latest housing strategy which lays out how it aims to meet housing demand and improve standards in the city over the next five years.
The plan also looks at how the authority plans to tackle issues such as homelessness and the provision of affordable housing.
Following a consultation, officers noted previous concerns over the level of student housing — something the council has tried to tackle through an Article 4 Direction which requires conversions to Houses of Multiple Occupancy to submit planning applications first.
The strategy said: “The high level of student housing in the city has resulted in high concentrations of HMOs in particular localities.
“The development of purpose built student residential schemes located close to the University of Lincoln and Bishop Grosseteste University is essential in order to reduce the concentration of HMOs in city centre locations.”
Both universities said that following the completion of the medical school there were “no plans for further expansion” in the next five years and that “pipeline student residential sites will adequately meet demand”.
“Accordingly by 2026 the demand by students for HMO accommodation in city centre locations will have greatly reduced, allowing for the reintroduction of family housing and more balanced residential neighbourhoods,” said the strategy.
Pushing prices up?
According to the documents, around 68% of the city’s population are aged 16-64, above the 62.5% national average. It notes the student population as a reason for the high numbers.
The numbers are also a “key reason” for a “high level” of private renting with 17,225 students recorded in the 2018/19 Lincoln City Profile, along with the number of HMOs – of which it estimates there to be around 900.
It also notes the high level of accommodation being let as rooms in a house share (“usually to students”) as a reason for rents being driven up making them “relatively expensive in comparison to neighbouring authorities”.
If approved, the housing strategy will set out the City of Lincoln’s goals around the Western Growth Corridor, the Sincil Bank revitalisation and the promotion of independent living.
Councillor Donald Nannestad, Portfolio Holder for Quality Housing at City of Lincoln Council said: “A quality affordable home in which people can feel safe and thrive is a fundamental element in creating a sustainable community and enhancing society as whole.
“Whilst the strategy is for the period ending 2025 2020-25, at present we do not yet fully understand the long-term effects of the current pandemic. Therefore, we can now only begin to recognise the emerging implications on the city’s housing market and the wider economy.
“We remain hugely ambitious and positive about the future and growth of housing in Lincoln and look forward to delivering this strategy.”