Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Scaremongering' Claims over Piece on Student Housing

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Scaremongering' Claims over Piece on Student Housing

Article excerpt


ASTUDENTS' union president has been accused of "scaremongering" after claiming Newcastle City Council is trying to "remove" students from the city's residential areas.

Newcastle University Students Union (NUSU) president Ronnie Reid published an article on the union's website last month with the headline "They want you out, we want you in!".

The report, which has since been removed from the website, accused the council of proposing to "remove students from residential areas like Heaton, Sandyford and Jesmond".

In it, Mr Reid said the authority "has released plans to incentivise landlords to transition properties from student housing to family dwellings" and posted a link to the 'Maintaining Sustainable Communities' report.

The proposal was approved by the council in January 2017 and included rules to prevent student "ghettos" developing in the city.

As reported at the time, the plans said developers would have to prove that their project would not lead to an over-concentration of student blocks in a particular area.

But Mr Reid's article accused Newcastle City Council of "silently trying to put in place policies which will stop students living in sociable and affordable housing". It said: "Students paying between PS60 and PS90 per week could see the cost of housing double if we are told to live in high rise blocks of student accommodation."

The report went on to encourage students to register to vote in the upcoming local elections in May to make their voices heard.

The article attracted a flurry of concerned comments when it was posted on NUSU's Facebook page, with students saying this would "devastate Jesmond entirely" and turn it into "a ghost town".

But others rushed to accuse the campaign of "scaremongering".

Liam Patrick Spencer said: "Whoever is behind this blatant anti-Newcastle City Council propaganda at NUSU should be ashamed. …

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