Article 4 Direction

The Council’s Cabinet will debate a proposal to introduce an Article 4 direction to cover the City of Bath next Wednesday evening.

Additionally, this includes a proposal to introduce an additional licensing scheme which could improve the quality of shared housing in the private rented sector.

Will is aware that students in our community are concerned that an Article 4 direction may decrease the amount of choice that they have about where they live in their second and third years. Will has researched the Universites’ plans for building new accommodation and their projections for increased student numbers.

At present, Bath Spa University doesn’t have enough space in halls and its accommodation office block books streets in Oldfield Park for their freshers. The good news is that the University intends to create 550 study rooms on the Newton Park Campus: This will be enough for all its freshers to be in University accommodation, and should free up over 120 family homes in the city. This could increase to 200 family homes if they build the 1,000 rooms they have potential to by 2030.

Bath University have told us that they will increase their student numbers to just over 16,000 by 2020. There are currently just under 15,000 students at Bath University. As long as they build the 2,400 study rooms they have promised there will be a surplus of over 1,00o rooms. See page 10 of the masterplan, but beware it is a 9Mb document:

Further Information:

8 thoughts on “Article 4 Direction

  1. Adam Jackson says:

    From your own HMO Q&A:
    What’s the problem?
    … Over the past decade the two universities have increased their combined student numbers from about 12,000 to over 22,000. In the past 10 years, they have not built 10,000 study rooms on campus or in purpose built accommodation.\n
    How is an extra 1500 rooms on campuses going to solve this problem?

    • oldfield says:

      Hi Adam,

      The current plans from both unis indicate a future building programme of about 2900 – 3400 rooms. Most, if not all homes currently in use as an HMO around the city will stay as a HMO, so in theory some current, and all future increases in student numbers can be accomodated in purpose built accomodation on campus and in the City.

      If there are then “surplus” HMOs in the City, these are most likley to be let to young professionals / recent graduates, helping the City with Graduate retention.


  2. Jonathan Archer says:

    But the change in the number of HMOs will be all one-way! What HMOs that get transformed back into family homes will NOT be replaced by new ones due to the restrictions this imposes. By the way, your research hasn’t found that the university, every year, struggles to house all of its new arrivals. I served as freshers’ crew and witnessed first-hand that people without accommodation had to be fobbed off so we could focus on those with it. We were told to move them onto another point on campus, and that information point told them to come to us. I knew a fresher who had to spend his first month at university living in the travelodge by the train station before he could get a rented property for the rest of the year! This will get worse and Article 4 direction looks to merely compound these problems.

    • oldfield says:


      This is really interesting – I was aware that there can be problems. I had even heard about freshers sleeping on floors. Obviously the Unis are not keen to publisise this.

      In the HMO Q&A I have alluded to the fact that The Council and The Unis have only recently started to address provison of student housing together. I know the unis will need to expand in the furture and it is important that the Council works with them to understand and help facilitate the housing needs associated.

      The Unis do have a corporate responsibility not to take on more students than they, and the city can accomodate.

      I would also ask you to think about the young adults from the City of Bath who don’t go to university. They have huge difficultly finding somewhere local to live becasue of the massive change in tenure in the city over recent years. I recently visited one of the homeless shelters for 16-24 year olds and this very much brought the problem home to me.


  3. Adam Jackson says:

    You raise a good point in that the universities should not be over-stressing housing in such an aggressive way, and do bear some responsibility for the solution. However, councils are surely obliged not to make the problem worse? The plans that you have highlighted are long-term plans, and are not fully underway; it seems reckless to act now, and considerable damage could be done before planning is even granted for new accommodation buildings. The master plan doesn’t look like a “promise”; if there is a firm commitment out there could you please link us to it so we can use it as a pressure point in the future?

    I am also concerned about Bath’s young adults in general; where will they go if we have less HMOs and little new student accomodation?

  4. T Parsons says:

    I was under the impression that the types of HMOs used by students was a totally different type of property to that desired by young professionals or those seeking the first starter home. Many student houses in Oldfield Park are large, run down and cold. I therefore fail to see how this proposed licensing system can help.

    While I have every sympathy for the desire of 16-24 year olds wishing to move out from their parents homes, I also believe that they are no worse off than students or graduates (many of whom have to move back in with their parents, having had a taste of freedom after all!). My friends who left education at 18 are the ones who own houses of their own, while I have only just started my graduate career, and am still renting.

    I think its also important to remember, when suggesting that more campus accomodation will help, that many Bath Unversity students are residents in the city for 4 or 5 years, and may well wish to settle down and create a home for themselves. Personally I would not have chosen to live in Halls any longer than I had to, as being placed in Bath University’s Norwood House (before it was refurbished) I had the delight of living on top of the SU Nightclub, and therefore the priviledge of being kept awake until 3pm 3 or 4 nights a week by the noise!

    In terms of reducing the effect of student ghetto-ing taking up all the properties, the most effective solution would be to create effective transport links to the campuses from parts of Bath other than Oldfield Park. Students choose to live there, because its the only place in Bath with a really regular connection to campus, and where you can still reliably get on a bus before they become overcrowded. If the Combe Down buses ran more frequently (or someone sorted out that wretched muddy footpath through Rainbow Woods), for example, more students from Bath University would choose to live there. The same must apply to other locations, and would promote a more mixed and balanced population throughout the city.

  5. Simon says:

    I have followed all this debate with interest. May I ask two questions, please? First, what was the case originally put forward to support this Article 4 Imposition? I have not found any clear justification for such a step, no argument backed up with firm evidence or metrics (complaints from the public, etc). Secondly, what was the result of the Council debate last Wednesday: if the vote was for an Article 4 Imposition, when is it to take effect?
    Additionally, may I express surprise at how the proposal seems to discriminate against undergraduates? Will you somehow distinguish them from other young people who simply choose to live away from home and work in Bath, and occupy shared accommodation? If so, how will this distinction be effected? What is it about undergraduates that Bath does not like (in spite of the fact that it is a University town)? As my first question above implies, I am baffled at how many, who and why local people seem to have decided that these particular young citizens are somehow undesirable in any part of our district. We in our family have been in Oldfield Park for nearly 12 years, and I am just not seeing what this proposed action against one small section of the community is about. What will it make young people, looking hard for rental accommodation, think about our local politicians?

    • oldfield says:

      Hi Simon, quite a few questions and the Article 4 direction is not as discrimatory as you seem to think. Could we discuss on the phone? My number is 07786 830900 or if you’d prefer I could phone you. Will.

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