Leamington neighbourhood group demands council review into impact of growing student population on town

Colin Pigg and Carrie Terry point out a pile of rubbish bags outside a property in the Clarendon ward, Leamington.Colin Pigg and Carrie Terry point out a pile of rubbish bags outside a property in the Clarendon ward, Leamington.
Colin Pigg and Carrie Terry point out a pile of rubbish bags outside a property in the Clarendon ward, Leamington.
Clarendon ward residents say they are having to deal with "a rising tide of rubbish, all night partying and street noise throughout the early hours" and have formed a campaign group to put pressure on Warwick District Council to take action

Leamington residents are demanding a council review into the impact of the growing student population in the town.

Clarendon ward residents say they are having to deal with "a rising tide of rubbish, all night partying and street noise throughout the early hours" and have formed a campaign group to put pressure on Warwick District Council (WDC) to take action.

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The Clarendon Neighbourhood Group met for the first time recently.

The deterioration of their environment and the imbalance in the proportion of students to residents in the part of the town where they live were two of the main concerns that they shared with district councillors.

They say Clarendon Avenue is a prime example of the latter, with 75 per cent of those living in the road being University of Warwick students.

The group has said that "inaction by the police" and "a lack of accountability on the part of WDC" have made anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping a daily occurrence.

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Members are also concerned about the long term effects which, they fear, will include the shortage of affordable accommodation for permanent residents and the refocusing of the town centre's retail mix towards students rather than residents.

Clarendon residents, Carrie Terry and Colin Pigg, were nominated to represent the new group and will be meeting with WDC Officers next week.

Carrie said: "“There are streets across Leamington, which no longer feature any permanent residents at all, where family homes have been converted into student flats and houses, and given rise to a whole host of problematic issues.

"This is the start of a campaign for residents to be heard - with a collective voice.”

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Colin aded: “Warwick University has plans for significant growth in student numbers and yet they have no intention of increasing on-campus bed-spaces, preferring instead to outsource their students’ accommodation requirements to our community.

"The impact on Leamington is devastating and will become virtually irreversible.

"The obvious solution is to cap the number of students, and reduce both the number of HMOs and the concentration of students in the centre of town.

"At the very least, WDC should revoke the licences of negligent landlords, as they do in the case of pub licensees.”

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The group has also said: "The SoLAR (South Leamington Area Residents) group has been voicing similar concerns about the lack of constructive planning and action from WDC for over a decade.

"However, WDC has shown little interest in formulating a fit-for-purpose and coherent policy to restrict numbers and reduce current concentrations.

"An integrated policy across all relevant departments is long overdue."

The Leamington Courier and Warwickshire World have asked WDC for a comment.

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