Edinburgh Sees Increase in Approved Housing Plans Replaced by Student Accommodation, Raising Concerns

Edinburgh Sees Increase In Approved Housing Plans Replaced By Student Accommodation, Raising Concerns

Heritage organisation, the Cockburn Association, has raised concerns over a growing trend in Edinburgh where approved housing plans are being scrapped in favour of student accommodation after receiving consent for mainstream homes. The association views this shift as worrying and indicative of investors prioritising the more lucrative market for Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA).

Terry Levinthal, Director of the Cockburn Association, noted that housing consents are frequently changing to PBSA proposals immediately after approval. The association cited an example at 27 Arthur Street, where objections were raised against the change to student accommodation from the initially approved scheme of 33 apartments. The Cockburn Association believes that the approved development could have accommodated students, addressing the needs of non-first-year students seeking traditional flats to share with friends.

The housing crisis in the city, which encompasses student housing, has led to concerns about the shift from approved mainstream housing to specific and inflexible student bedsits. Rising mortgage rates and frozen private rents for traditional landlord properties appear to be pushing investors towards the more profitable PBSA market. However, this trend may not be in the best interest of the city’s already pressurised housing market in the long run.

This issue has come to light following the revelation that approved plans for homes on Willowbrae Road have been replaced with proposals for student accommodation. Developers submitted new plans for a block of 138 student beds, superseding previously consented proposals for a mix of one, two, and three-bedroom flats.

Local MPs and the community have expressed disbelief that a viable proposal for homes would be exchanged for student accommodation, particularly when the city is facing a housing emergency. Recent figures revealed that student accommodation accounts for over a quarter of all developments granted permission in the Capital.

The Cockburn Association and concerned citizens are urging the city council to address this issue, especially in light of the severe shortage of social rented homes, escalating private rental costs, and record levels of homelessness. The council has been approached for comment on the matter.


Source: Edinburgh News

Glasgow Faces Housing Emergency as Homelessness Reaches Critical Levels

Glasgow Faces Housing Emergency As Homelessness Reaches Critical Levels

The city of Glasgow is on the brink of a housing emergency, with homelessness reaching alarming levels, according to the councillor responsible for overseeing homelessness services. As the number of individuals in temporary accommodation continues to rise, along with an increase in the use of bed and breakfast establishments, authorities are bracing themselves for a significant surge in homelessness during the upcoming winter season.

The situation is expected to be exacerbated by the UK Home Office’s decision to expedite asylum claims in batches, which is likely to result in a higher number of individuals finding themselves without a home. If asylum seekers are granted a positive decision, they will be given a 28-day period to vacate the accommodation provided by Home Office contractor Mears. Failure to secure alternative housing within this time-frame will lead to their referral to the council’s homelessness team.

Allan Casey, City Convenor for Workforce, Homelessness, and Addiction Services, is proposing the official declaration of a housing emergency. In his motion, Casey urges the council to recognise the immense pressures faced by Glasgow City Council and the Health and Social Care Partnership, formally acknowledging that these pressures constitute a housing emergency. He also calls for concerted efforts to lobby the Scottish and UK Governments for the necessary funding and legislative changes required to address the crisis.

Estimates suggest that the acceleration of asylum applications could result in a cost of £53 million for the council in the coming year, with the Home Office indicating that it will not provide any financial assistance. Furthermore, alongside the rising number of individuals granted permission to stay, there has been an increase in the number of claims being refused. Consequently, more people find themselves ineligible for public support, falling under the category of ‘No recourse to public funds’ (NRPF), and the council anticipates a surge in rough sleeping as a consequence.

The influx of asylum seekers compounds an already growing number of individuals seeking assistance due to homelessness. Casey highlighted the strain on homelessness services in the city, citing the significant increase in approaches for housing advice and homelessness assistance made to the Health and Social Care Partnership. The escalating demand is predicted to lead to a higher number of homelessness applications and a greater reliance on temporary accommodation.

The combined effect of the increasing number of asylum decisions and the rising local homelessness rate has resulted in more individuals being placed in bed and breakfast establishments, placing the council in breach of unsuitable accommodation orders. Campaigners have long been advocating for a declaration of a housing emergency in Glasgow, emphasising the urgent need for action. They argue that the current system is failing, leaving thousands of homeless individuals languishing in substandard and squalid temporary accommodation, with detrimental effects on their physical and mental well-being.

As the situation reaches a critical point, Glasgow faces a pressing challenge in addressing the housing crisis. The declaration of a housing emergency, coupled with substantial funding and legislative support from the Scottish and UK Governments, is crucial in providing immediate relief and long-term solutions to combat homelessness and ensure the well-being and dignity of all residents in the city.


Source: Glasgow Times