Studentification in Brighton

BBC Radio Sussex has today been highlighting the challenges we already face in Brighton caused by the amount of private housing now exclusively rented to students, creating student 'ghettos'.  We are expecting 5,000 more students over the next few years.

Bill Randall, chair of Housing for B & H City Council, said the standard of some letting agents is very low and said some are 'little more than parasites'.

The areas most affected are Hanover, Elm Grove, Lewes Road, Bevendean, Moulsecoomb, Coldean and Hollingdean.  But many other areas have student houses too.

What to do now?  

Urgently: If every student property had the letting agent's plaque on the wall with contact details, so local people could easily identify who to contact if there are issues of noise, rubbish and general anti-social behaviour, this would definitely make agents more pro-active in managing their student properties.

In addition, the long-term is definitely more student accommodation on campus to release private housing back into the open market - bad news for student landlords but good news for neighbourhood cohesion and mixed use housing.

And last but not least - education.  Students need to have community cohesion classes...they really do.  How to integrate into the local community and be a positive influence.

Students are not a homogenous group, they are individuals, some active community citizens, others with not a clue.

Letting agents, landlords, the University authorities and Student Unions, need to take an active part in this education and react quickly to issues which arise.  Perhaps this would need a proactive 'student letting helpline', manned 24 hours a day to give urgent advice when there are urgent issues.  A start would be a well publicised advice website, detailing what to do if there are problems.

Paul Bonett

With thanks to Hanovernet for map