Steve McCabe MP (Birmingham Selly Oak) is calling on the Planning Committee to reject plans to build 31 student flats in Stirchley as concerns rise over a student takeover of parts of Selly Oak constituency.
The MP’s comments come in response to the latest application for purpose-built student accommodation in Stirchley. The re-submitted application proposes demolishing the existing Victorian buildings and replacing them with a 3 storey block consisting of 31studio flats for students.
This application for more student accommodation is one of several submitted in the Selly Oak area over the past few weeks. Last week plans were submitted to build 22 student flats in the carpark of the old Dogpool Hotel, just down the road from the Stirchley site. There are also proposals to convert the old municipal bank, opposite the Dogpool Hotel, into 170 student units, although detailed plans have yet to be submitted.
Steve McCabe MP warns that without action, from planners, Stirchley and Selly Park will become an extension of the university campus, with the area being targeted by landlords buying up family homes only to extend them, sometimes illegally, to cram in more students. Student accommodation is popular with private developers and landlords because it yields a quick and high return with lower maintenance costs and attracts no Council Tax.
In a letter to the Planning Department the MP pointed out that such accommodation contributes no Council Tax but does increase the demand on services and often means such developments are at the expense of the existing population. He is hoping to meet Senior Planning Officers over the summer to discuss his concerns and call for a proper city wide development plan for student accommodation.
Steve McCabe MP said:
“Stirchley has developed a reputation for its independent businesses and an active local community that really cares about the place where they live and work. The Planning Committee cannot and should not stand by and allow the unique character of this area to be destroyed because of excessive demands from those seeking quick profits from student accommodation. These people have no allegiance to this area.
“It seems that student accommodation is being built further and further away from the universities, putting part of my constituency at real risk of becoming little more than an extension of the university campus. I am not against students, I want them to have a decent place to stay and a good experience while at university but other people and families have housing needs too and they are being ignored because of the over concentration of student developments in this area. It’s simply not fair.“
“We need a proper blueprint for student accommodation across the city to stop developers, in pursuit of a quick profit, throwing up blocks of student flats where they like whether they are needed or not. I can’t believe that with the level of homelessness in my constituency and across the city that there shouldn’t be more balance in the types of accommodation being built. At this rate the only advice for young families and single working people, will be to move elsewhere.”
You can view and have your say on the proposals by following the link below and using the Reference: 2020/04405/PA
Read Steve’s Letter to Planning below