London SE1 community website

Affordable housing to be required in Southwark student accommodation schemes

London SE1 website team

Councillors in Borough and Bankside have welcomed the decision of a Government inspector to uphold Southwark Council's proposal to require developers of purpose-built student accommodation to provide affordable housing.

Southwark is the first borough to introduce such a policy. The proposal has been endorsed by a Government inspector appointed to examine the council's new core strategy planning document.

The new council policy requires an element of affordable housing to be provided as part of student schemes, either on site or via cash contributions.

"This is particularly important given the finite land supply and the likelihood that possible housing sites … could come forward for student housing provision," wrote planning inspector Andrew Seaman.

"This is good news for Cathedrals ward where the recent downturn in the housing and office market has led to a number of consented residential and office schemes being converted to student accommodation because, until this new policy came in, they did not have to bear the cost of providing affordable housing," says Cllr Adele Morris.

"This has led to a sudden and unstrategic boost in student accommodation in the ward, bringing the number of purpose built student rooms to around 3,000 – with almost 1,000 of those being provided in Great Suffolk Street alone.

"Cathedrals councillors worked closely with the planning policy team to get this policy in to the Core Strategy to make sure that we get a balanced community in the ward, which is not over dominated by any one group – a view that has been strongly supported by both residents and businesses through consultation documents such as the London Bridge, Borough and Bankside SPD and other 'neighbourhood plans'."

New student accommodation in SE1

• Council officers are currently considering a planning application for a 150-bed student residence in Ewer Street in Cathedrals ward.
• UNITE has planning permission for a 146-room residence on Waterloo Road,
• A massive 671-bed student residence is under construction in Great Suffolk Street. UNITE purchased the land for £31.5 million last September
• A scheme which would have provided 237 new student bed spaces in Chaucer ward was last week rejected by a planning inspector.
The Quill development next to Guy's Hospital in Grange ward would accommodate 470 students.

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