Leeds HMO Lobby
What is a HMO?
Studentification in Leeds
Use Classes Order
Students & Community
National HMO Lobby
Leeds HMO Lobby
Proof of Evidence
Appeal Number APP/N4720/A/08/2074675/NWF
by Parklane Properties against refusal by Leeds City
of permission for student flats at former Glassworks, Cardigan Road,
1 Argument Application 07/07439/FU by Parklane
Properties for a part five- and part six-storey block comprising
sixty student cluster flats, with 256 bed spaces, car parking and
landscaping, at the former Glassworks, Cardigan Road, Headingley,
Leeds LS6 1LF, was considered by Plans Panel West of Leeds City
Council (LCC) on 21 February 2008. The application was supported
by a Planning Statement [see Annex, Document L01]. It was opposed
by Leeds HMO Lobby [L02], and as the Planning Statement shows in
paragraph 6.4, by other local representatives. The Panel refused
the application on three grounds, the second of which was that the
proposal would be seriously detrimental to the balance and sustainability
of the local community and to the living conditions of people in
the area [L03]. Leeds HMO Lobby argues that national, regional and
local planning policy is to sustain balanced communities, that the
community in & around Headingley in Leeds is seriously unbalanced,
towards student accommodation (with consequent detriment to amenity)
and therefore that the application is contrary to planning policy.
2 Policy Planning policy nationally, regionally
and locally supports housing mix.
2.1 Strong communities have been integral to government policy for
a decade at least. Creating Sustainable Communities was
the motto adopted by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM)
when it was established in 2002.
2.1.1 Planning Policy Statement 1 (PPS1), published by the ODPM
in 2005, was titled Delivering Sustainable Development
[L04], and to this end, it included a commitment to mixed and balanced
communities. "Planning should facilitate and promote sustainable
development by [among other things] ensuring that development supports
existing communities and contributes to the creation of safe, sustainable,
liveable and mixed communities" (paragraph 5), and also "Plan
policies should ensure that the impact of development on the social
fabric of communities is considered and taken into account"
2.1.2 The implications for housing policy were established in Planning
Policy Statement 3 (PPS3) on Housing published by Communities
& Local Government (CLG) in the following year [L05]. "The
Government is seeking to create sustainable, inclusive, mixed communities
in all areas … The specific outcomes that the planning system
should deliver are a mix of housing, both market and affordable,
particularly in terms of tenure and price, to support a wide variety
of households in all areas" (paragraphs 9-10). In particular,
paragraphs 20-24 were concerned with 'Achieving a mix of housing.'
"Key characteristics of a mixed community are a variety of
housing, particularly in terms of tenure and price and a mix of
different households such as families with children, single person
households and older people" (paragraph 20). "Developers
should bring forward proposals for market housing which reflect
demand and the profile of households requiring market housing, in
order to sustain mixed communities. Proposals for affordable housing
should reflect the size and type of affordable housing required.
In planning at site level, Local Planning Authorities should ensure
that the proposed mix of housing on large strategic sites reflects
the proportions of households that require market or affordable
housing and achieves a mix of households as well as a mix of tenure
and price. For smaller sites, the mix of housing should contribute
to the creation of mixed communities having regard to the proportions
of households that require market or affordable housing and the
existing mix of housing in the locality" (paragraphs 23-24).
2.2 As PPS3 states "Regional Spatial Strategies should set
out the region's approach to achieving a good mix of housing"
2.2.1 In its discussion of housing in Yorkshire & The Humber,
the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) notes: "Sustainable, mixed
communities require a variety of housing in terms of size, type,
tenure and price to meet the needs of different households. In parts
of the Region the current mix of housing stock is not helping to
create sustainable, cohesive and tolerant communities where people
want to live and continue to live, and which are able to respond
to people's housing aspirations as they change and develop …
In recent years, in some parts of the region, there has been a significant
increase in the provision of smaller homes, including flats. However,
in some areas there has been a shortage of new homes suitable for
families with children" (para 12.36).
2.2.2 Accordingly, the Strategy adopts Policy H5, Housing Mix,
which states that "Plans, strategies, investment decisions
and programmes should ensure the provision of homes for a mix of
households that reflects the needs of the area, including homes
for families with children, single persons, and older persons, to
create sustainable communities" (p171).
2.3 PPS3 says, "Local Planning Authorities should plan for
a mix of housing" (para 21). The current Leeds Unitary Development
Plan (UDP) was adopted in 2001, but almost immediately, a Review
began, which was adopted in 2006 [L07]. Though this Review was prior
to the publication of PPS3 and the RSS, one of its strategic goals
was precisely "to ensure that development is consistent with
the principles of sustainable development" (SG4), subsequently
elaborated in PPS1.
2.3.1 Only parts of the UDP were reviewed, and one of these concerned
polarisation in housing provision, and its impact on sustainable
communities. The outline proposals published in December 2002 identified
Headingley as problematic in terms of housing imbalance, and an
Action Area was proposed. In the First Deposit of June 2003, an
Area of Student Housing Restraint (ASHORE) was proposed, in order
'to achieve a more mixed population which is inclusive and sustainable'
(paragraph 7.6.30), and this was retained in the Revised Deposit
of February 2004. Within ASHORE, Policy H15 opposed extensions and
changes of use to student HMOs, and also student halls of residence.
The latter was included for a number of reasons. On the one hand,
imbalance is a matter of overall population proportions, regardless
of whether this imbalance is housed in HMOs or in purpose-built
accommodation. On the other hand, in a report prepared for the University
of Leeds [L08], Dr Darren Smith made it clear that the presence
of purpose-built accommodation is central to attracting students
to an area. "Without doubt, the favoured location … is
Headingley. This is not surprising given many of the student halls
of residence are located within or in close proximity to Headingley,
and therefore, geographical awareness of potential locations is
likely to be highest for Headingley. Indeed, most students pass
through the Headingley area on a daily basis on their journey to
and from the campus of the University of Leeds, albeit on foot,
bicycle, car or public transport" (p40).
2.3.2 In the Public Inquiry on the Review later in 2004, a two-day
Round Table was dedicated to this aspect of housing policy. On the
Inspector's recommendation, ASHORE was amended as an Area of Housing
Mix. The main change was the exclusion of purpose-built accommodation,
overlooking the reasons for its inclusion in the first place. The
final UDP review included Policy H9, "The City Council will
seek to ensure that a balanced provision in terms of size and type
of dwellings is made in housing developments," as well as Policies
H15 and H15A, which respectively comprise restraint on student housing
in the designated Area, and encouragement of such housing outside
the Area. (It allowed purpose-built student housing only in specific
circumstances, paragraph 7.5.32.) Both in the letter and in the
spirit therefore, the UDP opposed polarisation, and supported housing
3 Community The neighbourhoods in & around
Headingley (encompassed by the Area of Housing Mix) manifest both
polarisation of the community (an overwhelming lack of balance or
mix) and the social, environmental and economic consequences (long-term
loss of sustainability). (The process and the product of studentification
have been analysed by the National HMO Lobby [L09].)
3.1 Demographically, Headingley is unbalanced (or polarised). The
demographic peculiarities make precise and comprehensive data difficult
to compile (itself a symptom of the problems which arise). The latest
source of evidence is the Census of 2001 [L10].
3.1.1 In terms of housing tenure, the Census reveals Headingley
Ward to be polarised. The national norm is for 70% of properties
to be owner-occupied, 20% to be socially rented, and 10% to be privately
rented. The city of Leeds as a whole corresponds to the national
norms (69%, 19% and 12% respectively). In Headingley Ward, however,
the normal balance is turned on its head: only 25% is owner-occupied,
and 16% is socially rented - but 59% is privately rented.
3.1.2 Again, in terms of households, the Census reveals Headingley
Ward to be polarised. Nationally, 70% of the population are (or
were) married, and 30% are single. In Headingley, the situation
is reversed - only 20% are/were married, and 80% are single. Consequently,
one-person households are much higher than the norm (40% rather
than 30%), and those with children much lower (10% instead of 30%).
But the real polarisation is towards multiple occupation. LCC's
Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Team estimates that there are
approximately 2,500 HMOs in the Ward (1,350 are licensed [L11]),
which indicates that about half the population lives in HMOs (if
the average occupancy of HMOs is five persons, and the population
of the Ward is about 25,000).
3.1.3 The consequence of housing polarisation is demographic polarisation.
The distinctive demography is intimately connected with the distinctive
housing profile. Private renting has the shortest occupancy of any
tenure, on average eighteen months [L12]. Most renting in the Ward
is HMOs, and most of these are shared student houses. The population
therefore is young, transient and seasonal.
(a) The local population is overwhelmingly youthful. Nationally,
approximately one-fifth of the population occupies each of five
fifteen-year age-bands - thus school-children (under 16) comprise
20% of the population, as do those aged 60 or more. However, in
Headingley Ward, only 8% are 60 plus, and only 7% are school-children.
On the other hand, 69% are in the 16-30 age band. Clearly, on this
basis, the local population is quite unable to renew itself naturally.
(The imbalance of course is uneven. A breakdown of the Census figures
by Output Area shows South Headingley to be most polarised [L13].
Here, 72 streets each house a majority of students; in many, the
proportion exceeds 75%; and some indeed are virtually entirely occupied
by students, such as Manor Drive or Chestnut Avenue.)
(b) The local population is overwhelmingly transient. Electoral
registration figures used to provide a useful guide. Until 2001,
they were compiled and published annually. In most wards, the number
of newly-registered electors is somewhat below 10% (comprising those
coming of age, or moving into the ward). However, figures from the
Electoral Registration Office in Leeds [L14] show that in 1991,
the proportion of new electors in Headingley was already double
the usual figure at 19%. During the decade, it increased steadily,
and by 2001, half of the electors (49%) were new to the Ward.
(c) The local population is also overwhelmingly seasonal. Figures
are not readily found. But experiential evidence shows that public
places (streets, shops) are heavily-used in term time, and under-populated
during university vacations. This could be confirmed by local retailers.
It is very evident in local streets, when houses are shuttered and
in darkness at holiday times, like Christmas.
3.2 There is good reason for policy supporting mixed or balanced
communities. This is confirmed in Headingley, on the one hand by
increased problems, and on the other, by a weakened community to
provide solutions. In order to cope with these problems, LCC's Inner
NW Area Committee (INWAC) has established a dedicated sub-committee,
the Students & Community Group, comprising councillors, residents
and services, to devise policy, implement actions and monitor developments
(see its latest Report [L15]).
3.2.1 Problems in & around Headingley exacerbated directly
or indirectly by imbalance are social, environmental and economic.
(a) Low-level antisocial behaviour is endemic in term-time, comprising
noise nuisance, minor vandalism, evacuation, and public drunkenness,
and arises from a population predominance of teenagers and young
adults. Such incidents are not recorded. But serious crime is, and
figures from Safer Leeds identify Headingley as one of six burglary
hot-spots in the city [L16]. In fact, the Headingley hotspot is
larger than all the other five put together, both in terms of the
size of the area and of the number of offences. Other records show
that the high numbers of vulnerable households attract burglars
from well outside the local area, which is not usually the case.
(b) Waste disposal has long been a problem in & around Headingley.
LCC commissioned a survey from ENCAMS which identified Headingley
as the filthiest ward in the city. Accordingly, Headingley Streetscene
was initiated, a new system for waste disposal. It is now defunct:
on the one hand, it was very resource-intensive; on the other, it
failed to take account of the need for continuous renewal, due to
population transience. Meanwhile, demand for HMOs has impacted on
the quality of the built environment, in terms of infill development,
alterations and extensions, loss of features and inappropriate additions
(grilles, dishes), and neglect and concreting of curtilages. A Neighbourhood
Design Statement is under way, to mitigate the effects [L17].
(c) Demographic polarisation brings with it distinctive market
pressures. Retailing in & around Headingley has been described
as a 'resort economy', being both seasonal and with a particular
orientation towards letting agencies (sixty in the area [L18]),
bars and take-aways. In consequence, Headingley is probably the
most regulated suburb in the city: it not only has the Area of Housing
Mix, but also a Cumulative Impact Policy (covering all licensed
premises, bars and take-aways) and a Designated Public Places Order
(with extensions under consideration), a Direction on Letting Boards
and a Flyer Control Zone, and Additional HMO Licensing under consideration.
(d) Car parking is a generic problem which impacts on social, environmental
and economic issues. It obstructs pavements for pedestrians, and
access by emergency vehicles, cleansing, buses and residents. Research
shows that HMOs occupied by students have higher-than-average car
ownership, twice the city average in fact [L19, p19]. A number of
Residents Parking Zones are in place, and more are planned.
3.2.2 The community itself, and therefore its capacity to respond
to problems, is weakened by demographic imbalance. This is understood
experientially by settled residents. It is they who act in the interest
of the community to which they belong. Lacking this sense of membership,
the transient population does not. This is manifest in all spheres,
but it is clearly documented in the level of civic engagement demonstrated
by turnout at local elections. For several years now, Headingley
Ward has furnished the lowest turnout, falling below 20% (19.7%
in 2008, 17.8% in 2007, 18.9% in 2006, 9.5% in by-election 2005
4 Conclusion It is clear, first of all, that planning
policy supports mixed, balanced communities, and secondly, that
Headingley is not a mixed or a balanced community. In fact, it is
polarised towards predominance by a transient population, especially
students. Yet the application by Parklane Properties to build sixty
flats for 256 students adds to this domination. Leeds HMO Lobby
concludes therefore that the decision to refuse permission by Leeds
City Council was entirely correct: as the Plans Panel's reasons
indicate, approval would be directly contrary to planning policy
4.1 In their Planning Statement submitted in support of their application
[L01], the appellants have claimed that "in all planning respects
the proposals are acceptable" (4.14), and "in all respects
the proposals are acceptable in planning terms and fully supported
by the relevant planning policies" (7.3). Likewise, in their
Statement of Case [L21], the appellants claim "the development
will be acceptable in planning terms and will be in accordance with
and supported by the relevant local planning policies and guidance
and national planning advice" (5.1). This is manifestly not
the case. The appellants (paragraph 3.3) cite PPS1, para 5, which
states "ensuring that development supports existing communities
and contributes to the creation of safe, sustainable, liveable and
mixed communities." But they fail to address this issue. PPS3
is referred to in paragraphs 3.14-3.20. But there is no reference
to paragraphs 20-24, concerned with 'Achieving a mix of housing'.
The RSS is referred to in paragraphs 3.24-3.32, but again there
is no mention of Policy H5, Housing Mix. In paragraph 5.3 of the
Planning Statement, the appellants even claim "High quality
new housing development of the type proposed and meeting specific
housing needs is also in the best interests of improving the quality
of life of people where they live through the provision of new homes
and the development of balanced, sustainable and inclusive communities."
But they offer no reason to support the claim. The conclusion in
para 5.10 quotes PPS1, paragraph 23 - but omits the phrase "including
an appropriate mix of housing."
4.2 The truth is, with regard to balance, two scenarios are possible,
if the development were allowed - and both would be contrary to
4.2.1 The best-case scenario is alluded to in the appellant's Planning
Statement, paragraph 6.4, which refers to considerations by the
Planning Group of INWAC: "The group was not convinced by the
assertion that the provision of purpose built flats would release
houses locally for potential family occupation and it was questioned
whether Parklane Properties were able to give any assurances over
how many houses would be released." The Group was not convinced
for three reasons. First, the suggestion is that these students
would move sideways, as it were, from houses into purpose built
flats - but this would not affect the numbers which imbalance the
community; it is the overall proportions of the population that
matter, not where they happen to live. Secondly, purpose built development
in fact attracts students: like most people they prefer the familiar
to the strange; purpose built development provides that familiarity
to students. Finally, family occupation of any houses released is
unlikely in a neighbourhood dominated by a 256-bed student residence.
At best, the demographic imbalance would remain unaffected.
4.2.2 On the other hand, in the worst-case scenario, the new development
would be occupied by students moving out of purpose built development
elsewhere in Leeds, attracted to the Glassworks by its proximity
to central Headingley. In this scenario, development at the Glassworks
would in fact undermine Policy H15A of the UDP, which seeks to encourage
purpose built development in Leeds outside the Area of Housing Mix.
In this case, the upshot is an even worse imbalance, and an even
less sustainable community.
5 Recommendation Therefore, Leeds HMO Lobby respectfully
requests that the Inspector dismiss appeal APP/N4720/A/08/2074675/NWF
by Parklane Properties against Leeds City Council.
Dr Richard Tyler, Leeds HMO Lobby, September 2008
L01 Colliers CRE, Proposed Residential Redevelopment of Former
Glassworks at Cardigan Road, Leeds LS6 1LF: Planning Statement
L02 Leeds HMO Lobby, Representation
on Proposed Residential Redevelopment of former Glassworks
L03 Leeds City Council, Planning Services, Decisions
List No 9 March 2008
L04 Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Planning
Policy Statement 1: Delivering Sustainable Development
January 2005 [not submitted]
L05 Communities & Local Government, Planning
Policy Statement 3 (PPS3): Housing November 2006 [not submitted]
L06 Government Office for Yorkshire and The Humber, The
Yorkshire and Humber Plan: Regional Spatial Strategy to 2026 May
2008 [not submitted]
L07 Leeds City Council, Leeds
Unitary Development Plan Review 2006 July 2006 [submitted
L08 Darren P Smith, Processes of Studentification in Leeds:
a report to the City & Regional Office, University of Leeds
May 2002 [extract: 4.6 'The first-choice residential locations',
L09 National HMO Lobby, Balanced
Communities & Studentification: Problems and Solutions
L10 Office for National Statistics, Census
2001 April 2001 [online]
L11 Leeds City Council, Licensable HMOs by Ward July 2008
L12 Communities & Local Government, Housing
Statistics Summary 026: Survey of English Housing Provisional Results:
2005/06, November 2006 [online]
L13 Leeds HMO Lobby, South Headingley: Student Settlement
L14 Leeds HMO Lobby, Transience in Headingley: from data from
the draft Electoral Roll supplied by the Electoral Registration
Office, Leeds City Council, 2001 January 2001
L15 Leeds City Council, Inner NW Area Committee, Student Accommodation
Changeover 25 September 2008
L16 Safer Leeds, Domestic Burglary Problem Profile: presentation
to Leeds Housing Partnership Forum 8 December 2006
L17 Headingley Development Trust, Neighbourhood
Design Statement in progress [online]
L18 South Headingley Community Association, Headingley &
neighbourhood: Property Agencies within ASHORE August 2008
L19 Ian Richardson, An Investigation into the Social Impacts
of Students in Leeds BA (Hons) Sociology, University of Leeds,
2005 [extract: 4.5 'Car Ownership', p19]
L20 Leeds City Council, Election
L21 The Barton Willmore Planning Partnership, Appeal Statement
of Case on behalf of Parklane Properties, June 2008
The planning application by Parklane Properties was opposed
by Leeds HMO Lobby. It was considered by Plans Panel West of Leeds
City Council on 21 February 2008, and refused. Parklane Properties
appealed, and a Public Inquiry was held on 8-10 October 2008. The
Inspector's Appeal Decision dismissed
the appeal on 19 November 2008.
The decision is significant for a number of reasons.
# First of all, it was partly based on the design of the development.
But it was also based on its detrimental impact on the local community.
The Inspector referred to the ECOTEC
Report in support of his decision (para 22).
# Secondly, the decision was partly based on local planning policy
H15, which restrains student housing in an Area of Housing Mix (para
17). The decision shows the value of having local planning policies
on HMOs and shared houses. It's important to get such policies into
Local Development Frameworks.
# Finally, the decision referred to national planning policies:
"I find that the over-concentration of students in this part
of the city would not sit well with the Government's objectives
of creating socially cohesive and well-balanced communities as stated
in PPS1 and PPS3" (para 23). PPS1 and PPS3 are national policies
Development' and on 'Housing'
respectively. The message is that concentrations of HMOs are contrary
to national planning policy - and this is a precedent that could
be cited in objecting to any similar application that may be made,
Leeds HMO Lobby