By Joe Locker, Local Democracy Reporter
Nottingham’s two universities have pledged to spend £1 million to help clamp down on anti-social behaviour as part of a new student living strategy.
The new plan has been drawn up by Nottingham City Council, the University of Nottingham, and Nottingham Trent University (NTU) to set out the ways in which the various challenges facing the student population and communities will be tackled.
According to the Student Living Strategy document, which will be adopted at a City Council Executive Board meeting on September 19, around one in seven residents in the city is a student studying at one of the two universities.
In total, there are around 62,000 students in the city at any one time, and around 30 per cent choose to stay in Nottingham or the East Midlands after graduating.
The strategy outlines three priorities including improving the quality, affordability and location of accommodation, encouraging students to contribute to clean and sustainable communities to make sure there is a mutual benefit for all, as well as maximising graduate retention.
In a joint statement Professor Edward Peck, Vice-Chancellor at NTU, Professor Shearer West, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Nottingham, and Cllr David Mellen, leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “We collectively understand that whilst there are many benefits in having two world-class universities in the city, this can also create some issues.
“We are committed to working together to address these. In this Student Living Strategy (SLS), we set out the ambitious actions that we are, and will
be, taking to make Nottingham the best city it can be for its residents.
“We will regularly revisit these actions to assess progress and refresh plans where appropriate.
“We will listen and act on the feedback we receive, as we continue to offer a world-class student experience in Nottingham and seek to enhance the lives of our communities.”
The strategy document says both universities will directly invest in more housing options for students.
The University of Nottingham will be looking to increase the provision of accommodation on campus by around 2,000 extra bed spaces over the next decade.
Meanwhile the City Council says it will be looking to “encourage purpose-built student accommodation in places where it reduces pressure on family housing”.
While the council says the building of purpose-built accommodation has not kept up with the increasing student numbers over the past five years, it has 10,000 more bed spaces in the development pipeline.
The strategy also outlines how the organisations will help clamp down on anti-social behaviour.
In recent years the universities funded up to 2,000 hours of additional
Community Protection Officer (CPO) patrols to tackle noise and anti-social behaviour in areas with the highest concentration of students.
A joint £1m investment by the universities in 2023/24 will now help pay for additional CPOs, additional waste collections as well as a community van, sweeper and litter pickers.
The investment represents around a three-fold increase in spending since 2019/20.
However the document emphasises students accounted for just under five per cent of all reported anti-social behaviour incidents between September 2021 and August 2022.
Over this period there were 14,589 incidents of anti-social behaviour reported to the police, via 101 calls across the city, representing a 23 per cent decrease on the previous year.
Of these, 671 incidents were student-related and largely down to noise disturbances and parties.
The adoption of the Student Living Strategy has been recommended for approval by the City Council next week.