Moves to stop Worcester 'student ghettos'

To let signs (generic) The plans have already been used by other councils across England

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Planning rules could be tightened in Worcester to make it harder for homes to be converted into student housing.

City council leaders said they wanted to prevent areas like St John's becoming "student ghettos".

Local residents had complained the characters of their areas were changing because of an influx in students.

Worcester University said its students played a vital role in the city and worked hard to ensure they were "considerate neighbours".

Last year, the council employed consultants to look into the situation, which found there were at least 600 homes of "multiple occupation" in the city and that with the growth of the university, these numbers were likely to continue growing.

A meeting of the city council's cabinet on Tuesday backed the plans, which would mean all moves to convert all homes into houses for several students would have to be passed by the authority's planning committee first.

Many other councils across England have already adopted similar planning rules, including Leeds, Bristol, Nottingham and Plymouth.

'Participate positively'

Marc Bayliss, the council's deputy leader, said the authority just wanted to "create balanced and fair communities with a mix of all sorts of residents".

The plans will now be voted on by the full council. If they are passed, there will be a year before the rules come into effect.

In a statement, the university said more than half of the 10,000 on its courses were mature students who lived with their families. It also said that in recent years it had more than doubled its own purpose-built accommodation.

It added: "We encourage our students to integrate and participate positively within their communities."

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