SIR — Your front page article (Chronicle, February 4) about halting the spread of student housing in Winchester was no doubt welcomed by residents of Stanmore, Winnall and Weeke.
Under new legislation coming in April, Winchester City Council will be able to limit the number of new HMOs (houses of multiple occupation) in those areas. However, this is likely to be a disaster.
At a meeting of Stanmore residents before Christmas, it was clear that no distinction is made by many residents between ‘students’ and ‘young people’.
Get rid of the students and you still have plenty of badly-behaved youngsters, whom long-term residents are reluctant to recognise as their own.
If Winchester council limits the number of HMOs, the properties will still be there, and we need to think ahead as to what will happen to them.
After student accommodation, the council’s greatest need is to house ‘vulnerable’ people.
That includes the homeless, dysfunctional families, drunks, drug addicts, etc., and the council will pay good money to landlords (the local housing allowance) to make their property available for that market.
Having had a basinful of such a family living next to me, I would take students any time.
Let’s also remember that HMOs house young professionals, and other very desirable tenant groups who will be driven out by a shortage of appropriate accommodation.
Sorry, Stanmore, Weeke and Winnall: if you think students are bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet!
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