Thursday, April 06, 2006

HMO's in the Holyland's and beyond...

In response to the CU Holylands clean up (see here) David Farrell, Chairman of the Holyland's Residents Association has claimed that the problems seen in his community can only be solved by a change in Government legislation "similar to the recent cap placed on further property development in the countryside".
He said that: "The DOE Planning Service continue to allow houses, right across south Belfast, to be over developed into HMO's (Houses in Multiple Occupancy) these areas should also be capped to a maximum % limit in any area/street." Further stating that "unchecked development gives free range to developers/landlords to pack young people into a small number of densely overpopulated streets close to Queen's University. The result of these actions destroys any sense of community throughout the area as any mass of one single type of resident from one age group, with a majority acting in a similar fashion, results in the classic behaviour patterns that are more than evident; a time shifted, generally antisocial approach to the area, which indicates a selfish attitude with little self esteem and confidence."
He added that: "Landlords should refrain form treating the area as a building site and actually engage with their tenants to improve their lifestyle." and that "with 90% of the 2,000 properties in the Holyland having an average of 5 bedsit (boxes) each, everyone can see who is being taken advantage of and what the overall cost is. Young people should vote with their money and demand better living conditions that allow them to manage their waste easily."
In response a Planning Service spokesperson said that "The Planning Service is aware of the growing concern there has been at the increasing level of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) and the concentration of student accommodation in certain parts of Belfast. In addition to being involved in the Belfast City Council led multi disciplinary group examining the issue, the Planning Service intends to prepare a Subject Plan that specifically addresses the issues of HMOs within Belfast.
"To inform the draft Subject Plan and prompt discussion on the matter, an Issues Paper on Houses in Multiple Occupation was launched on 15 August 2005. The consultation period ended on 21 November 2005. The response to the Issues Paper was very positive and included a number of constructive suggestions.
"Planning Service is currently preparing the Subject Plan for publication in due course and is meeting local elected representatives shortly."
Queen's University has also been asked for a repsonse.


Anonymous Jimbo said...

what happened to the nipple comment and free speech?

4/06/2006 8:05 pm  
Blogger Gown Team said...

Jimbo, as has been stated before 'The Gown' will remove offensive comments that may offend our readers, as do many other blogs who are targeted by such people. In this case, for that reason the comment was removed whilst it also did not offer any relevance to the topic.

'The Gown' respects freedom of speech and stands as an example of it.


4/06/2006 9:15 pm  
Anonymous MATILDA said...

Well what do you know..a proper student issue. Maybe it's time people faced facts. Don't be distracted by HMO as though it were some type of medical condition. This is student land! House sharing is quite normal and obviously the cheapest way to spend 3 years. With Qub attracting 24,000 students they have got to live somewhere. I hear Elms might not be that reliable. What actually is a sense of community? Can you get a grant for it? I'm not sure the leafy suburbs around there ever did have a 'sense of community'. 'One single type of resident'..are all students the same or something? The same age group...erm? what's that 16-24 or 15-35 or the under 40s. What is this about 'young people managing their waste' - shouldn't the landlords and the council get their act together on this if it's a problem? Developers seem to be doing an effective job renovating neglected properties that previous owners have sold on for a huge profit. Is someone suggesting they build tower blocks? Is the Holylands Residents Association representative of the 'residents'?

4/06/2006 11:23 pm  
Anonymous David Cather said...

The residents association do have legitimate grounds for complaint, some of the behaviour over recent years has been unacceptable. I do, however, get the impression that no matter what Queens do the residents association won't be happy. St. Patricks day this year was a lot better than last year and this may have a lot to do with the universities inititive*, unfortuantly the residents association didn't really seem to give any recognotion to the work that had gone on.

I'm not sure the leafy suburbs around there ever did have a 'sense of community'.

I'm not sure you could really describe the Holylands as leafy suburbs.

* actually it may also be something to do with the fact that last year St. Patricks day was warm, balmy and conducive to outdoor drinking whereas this year it was freezing.

4/07/2006 8:35 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David, have you slipped off the fence here - on to the residents side? Beware of the dog! I thought Chairman Farrell stated that the students have grounds to complain about their cramped living conditions.
The Holylands is a self contained district with a magnificent river, Botanical Gardens as well as trees literally planted along side streets -that's leafy (suburbia)man!
Perhaps students should take offence at the Residents Association tainting all students with unfounded allegiations of drug taking on St. Patrick's Day. Did Chairman Farrell report any such incidents to the PSNI?
You seem too ready to use the weather in NI as a reason for unacceptable student behaviour - SAD perhaps? Qub/SU should be congratulated for all their efforts this year in putting on a series of events to engage students plus the very welcome, albeit late, introduction of community wardens.

4/07/2006 9:27 am  
Anonymous MATILDA said...

Sorry, wrong button. That's Matilda, not anonymous!

4/07/2006 9:30 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is this about 'young people managing their waste' - shouldn't the landlords and the council get their act together on this if it's a problem?

Well whats Ben and his friends doing about this?

4/07/2006 9:42 am  

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