The arguments for and against large, privately run student halls in the city’s residential areas is a nuanced and knotty one, as we said in our recent feature. Following on from the issues your raised in your comments, we spoke to Liverpool University to get their take on the issue.
Why did Liverpool University take the decision to tender out building of new halls?
As part of our residences strategy we aim to provide world-class accommodation for our students through a mix of University and private sector developments, as well as schemes that enable the University to work in partnership with private providers.
What’s the financial incentive for the University – how does the relationship work?
We will enter into a Nomination or Lease agreement and ensure the quality and design of the accommodation is of the highest standard at a competitive rent. The University takes all the occupancy risk to an agreed limit, which helps the financial viability of the development and ultimately keeps rents affordable for our students.
What about policing the students if they’re antisocial? Where does the responsibility lie, with you or with the halls’ management companies?
We take any anti-social behaviour very seriously. We work in close partnership with the managers of our private sector halls and do not discriminate between our own halls and those we operate in partnership with the private sector in terms of how we deal with anti-social behaviour. We have a very low incidence of anti-social behaviour from University of Liverpool students in those halls we operate in partnership with the private sector.
Why have you taken the decision to move students into the heart of the city – and why the closure of some of the Carnatic Halls?
No decision has been made to close Carnatic Halls. We have confirmed our commitment to South Liverpool with the proposal to refurbish and rebuild the Greenbank site. We continually review our Residences Strategy in terms of current stock and student requirements.
Do you believe there to be a conflict of interests when a high-density hall is proposed in a heritage site (of historic interest) such as Hope Street (pic)?
This is a consideration for the planning authority; however student residential development which is properly designed and constructed can add to the amenity and vibrancy of any area.
Do you accept the view that many residents have shared with us, that there’s a spike in complaints about noise pollution and minor property damage (to cars) when halls are built close to their homes?
There have been a small number of instances of anti-social behaviour since the start of term but the vast majority of students are responsible and respectful of the neighbourhood in which they live. We do not tolerate anti-social behaviour from our students and take appropriate action against any students involved.