Union President fears the new policy will lead to the introduction of unsightly tower blocks | Flickr, Elliott Brown

Kent Union have warned Canterbury’s City Council after an Article 4 Direction came into force on 25 February 2016, affecting popular student housing.

The policy now requires planning permission to be approved from the Council before it can be built if the property will be let out to between 3 and 6 occupants who are unrelated, also known as houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). These type of houses are particularly known for being let to students.

The Council has previously failed to introduce the policy several times since 2010 with it being repeatedly pushed forward. As of the 1 October however the Councillors voted to enact the policy. This will require planning permission to be granted before any property may be let as a House of Multiple Occupation, mostly commonly used by students and young professionals.

In the Houses of Multiple Occupation Best Value Review 2012 the Canterbury City Council cited a cost of £50,000 per year for the policy to be enacted.

Tammy Naidoo, Kent Union President, said;

“The whole debate has become completely farcical. The Council is now spending £50,000 of public money per year on a policy that is not only discriminatory, it’s completely useless. It will do nothing to address the issues it claims to and will only decrease property value and increase rents.

“On the one hand you have advocates of this policy saying it is about creating ‘balanced communities’ and spreading where students live across the city. However their solution is often to build sky high tower blocks and have students live there in a completely concentrated area. It’s nothing more than NIMBYism. [Not In My Back Yard]

“The Council has made some hefty promises will this policy introduction and critics shall be watching carefully to see how transparent the planning process is and whether it has any positive impact or indeed any at all.”

Kent Union is the body responsible for representing the interests of the 20,000 students at the University of Kent.