• Sean M. O'Connell

Student Accommodation Policy

I have spoken with students often. I understand many of the challenges they go through and I have heard their concerns over safety, affordability and accessibility.

The City of London is a centre for learning with both a college and university. Yet, we do not have a student accommodation policy. I would like to draft a policy to address this. A student accommodation policy would identify locations within the city's core and around campus areas for future developments sites to build student only housing. The city would accept proposals for purpose-built student accommodation or the conversion of existing buildings to offer a variety of units and space. 

These units can be made affordable with flexible (12 to 8 month) leases negotiated through the city. In essence the leases will be held with city to act as a landlord removing any potential pitfalls. The other aspect to consider is that the city would have a continuous revenue stream year after year. It is a realistic proposal as the city already acts as a landlord to social and temporary housing.

Ideally this would allow students accessibility as these designated areas will be located near major transportation infrastructure. Students make an important contribution to the city's economy and through increased demand for services, shops and housing. I think it is time that we acknowledge this. They are also potential new residents after completing their education. 

In terms of safety, a student accommodation policy could require developers to offer security features such as key card entry for residents only and/or security cameras to prevent unauthorised entry or crime. Similarly, the city can offer improved street lighting during the evening and night hours to make areas well lit. Not to mention enhanced coordination with the police to patrol student areas with greater frequency.