Moving out this summer? – Help and advice for students

Will and Shaun have both campaigned for the Student Community Partnership to run an awareness campaign to inform students about the ways they can manage their waste and refuse as it comes to the end of the Academic Year.

We hope that there will be few repeats of front gardens pilled up with rubbish as has happened occasionally in recent years.

We are also checking that the Council has plans to put on extra collection lorries to avoid scenes from last year when the refuse collection failed due to the huge number of bags that were put out. The photo shows Shaun picking up rubbish last summer which had been strewn all over Herbert Road following the Council’s lorries being overwhelmed with the vast amount of moving out waste. (Yet to be added to this story – sorry! Shaun)

Local priorities from the PACT / Public Meeting on the 10th March 2010

Around 40 local residents attended our regular Oldfield PACT (Public) Meeting took place on Wednesday 10th March 2010 at Moorlands Infant School, Moorfields Road.

These local residents were joined by two of our local Police team (PC Mark Brain and PCSO Paul Spreadbury), representatives from Somer Housing and your local Councillors, Will and Shaun. In addition, the President of the Students’ Union at the University of Bath attended with the new Community Liaison Coordintor from the Student Community Partnership, which I set up (well the Student Liaison Committee, which was renamed the SCP).

Firstly, we discussed the progress in tackling the priorities from the last meeting. Then those present were asked for their priorities, which were voted on. The following three top priorities were agreed at the meeting:

o Parking problems outside St John’s RC Primary School. Parents parking on zig-zags, pavement parking and double yellow lines.

o Student’s behaviour on St Kilda’s Road.

o Reduce the number of ‘To Let’ signs on houses of multiple occupancy.

In addtion at the meeting we heard about the ‘Oldfield Park Growing Together’ project.

We shall together with the Police now work towards resolving these issues and report back at the next PACT meeting scheduled for 6.30pm on 7th July 2010 at St Alphage’s Hall, Oldfield Lane, Bath.

HMO Legislation

The long-awaited amendments to the two Orders relating to HMOs have at last been published. You can find them as follows –

Use Classes Order at (this sets up a new Class C4: HMOs, and defines HMO as in the Housing Act 2004);

General Permitted Development Order at (this allows a HMO to return to a dwellinghouse, without planning permission).

Also good news from Plymouth, Cllr Shaun McGall has found out that Halifax Building Society recently refused a buy to let mortgage in the city due to the impending legislation in April.

Oldfield Park Growing Together

Quite often there has been bad press arising regarding the relationship between students and permanent residents in Oldfield Park. In order to help remedy this and improve the relationship between permanent residents and students in this area, the charity V Inspired, the Council, University of Bath and Bath Spa University’s Students’ Unions have created a project that aims to do just that.

The project, run by a core volunteer group of 4 students, seeks to match underutilised student household gardens with permanent residents who wish to grow their own food (responding to a local lack of allotments). The proposal is for a research project that will lead to a pilot scheme, designed and delivered by the volunteer group working in and with the community.

Currently being carried out is research into the market by distributing questionnaires, and semi structured interviews to determine the likely supply of gardens and also estimated demand for growing space in the community. The group are also attending local community meetings and collaborating with similar schemes that already exist such as the Bath Area Garden Share (part of Transition Bath) and Bath Organic Group, and taking inspiration from existing garden share schemes such as the one in Totnes, Devon.

The aim of this part of the project is to find out if it is feasible within the Oldfield Park area. If it is found to be feasible, by the middle of April it is hoped that two gardens will be being piloted with members of the local community using student gardens to plant their vegetables in, just in time for the recommended planting season!

If you feel your garden has a good space that someone could grow their veggies in please contact us!! If you are interested in getting involved or would like more information please email:

Public Consultation on the Future of Newton Park Campus of Bath Spa University

Bath Spa University is consulting on their initial proposals for the future development and combining enhancement of the Newton Park campus.

The University would like to hear your views on the emerging Newton Park master-plan exhibited here, which will provide the basis for planning applications coming forward in the future.

We both believe that it is important local residents of Oldfield Park have their say about the need for the University (actually both universities) to build and house more students in Halls of Residents on their campus and take some of the pressure off the local housing in our community.

Both Will and Shaun have already attended the exhibtion and have spoken informally with the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Frank Morgan, about the plans. We will be also adding our formal comments to the online consultation exercise.

The University has stated that local residents comments and views are important to them in helping to shape their proposals. Feedback from the exhibition and future consultation will be carefully considered as part of the ongoing design work.

The consultation documents are also availble as a large (6MB pdf) doc.

Please do respond to this consultation exercise and encourage your friends and neighbours to also respond.

New powers over HMOs welcomed

Liberal Democrats in Bath are “over the moon” following the government’s announcement of new powers for Councils to control ‘Houses in Multiple Occupation’ (HMOs). Councillor Shaun McGall and Don Foster MP have been campaigning on this issue for 10 years.

Today’s announcement shows that the government has finally bowed to national public pressure and has given local Councils the much-needed powers to control the spread of high concentrations of shared rented homes. This will allow Councils, such as ours, to tackle pockets of unsafe and substandard accommodation run by bad landlords. Liberal Democrats in the city headed by MP Don Foster had been calling on the Government to speed up action on the subject. Local MP Don Foster said:

I warmly welcome this announcement from the Minister. HMOs play an important role in providing affordable housing, but a dense population can have serious effects on the local community. It is great that the government has finally realised this and changed the law.

This is good for local residents giving control over unregulated profit driven changes to the community. Good for HMO tenants, as it will improve standards and get rid of bad landlords, by providing a mechanism for councils to set up local landlord licensing schemes.

The changes mean that landlords will need to apply for planning permission in order to establish a new HMO with a change of use, for example when the use of a property is altered from a family home to a shared house, with three or more tenants who are not related.

We would like to thank residents from across the city who responded to the Government consultation last year following our campaign.
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Have your say on development plans at Bath Spa University

Bath Spa University has been considering its long term needs both in terms of academic and student residental accommodation.

The University has been working with the Duchy of Cornwall (their landlord), the Council and English Heritage to establish the scope for development of the campus at Newton Park. There now want to explore their initial ideas with the local community.

The University has announced it is to hold a public exhibition at Newton Park on the 5th and 6th February 2010. For those unable to attend the exhibition in person, all the information will be available on the Bath Spa University website from Friday 5 February. Please put this in your diary and once we know more details we shall add them to our website.

It is important local residents of Oldfield Park have their say about the need for the University (actually both universities) to build and house more students in Halls of Residents on their campus and take some of the pressure off the local housing in our community.

Take your signs away!


Many local residents are furious that a new forest of “To Let” signs has sprung up across Oldfield Park. Residents think it’s quite unnecessary to have so many To Let signs when the agents are mainly trying to attract students. Students will either be looking online for accommodation or using the accommodation lists the universities provide.

The signs are also upsetting for the people who live in the houses at the moment; some have told me that the signs single them out as a house in multiple occupation and are an advertisement to thieves. Cllr Will Sandry said,

I asked the police, and unfortunately the Oldfield crime data confirms that student houses are targeted in particular at this time of year, when the signs go up.

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