Portsmouth students will always need somewhere to live too | News Comment

Somewhere along the line, it's hard to pinpoint where, students became demonised as work-shy, tax-avoiding, good-for-nothings who only live to sleep all day, party all night and cause grief to their hard working neighbours.

Tuesday, 18th December 2018, 3:32 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 10:07 am
A CGI picture of the new block planned for Kent Street Picture: PLC Architects

While that is undoubtedly true of some, in an age where undergraduates are paying £9,000 a year for the privilege, we've come a long way from free degrees that come without a huge amount of financial debt, and the associated worry, attached.

But as soon as it is announced that there is to be more student accommodation built, the protests begin, and it is often hard to see these protests as not being tinged with an anti-student agenda cloaked in other concerns.

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With a growing student population and only limited space on the island, they need to go somewhere. Of course, it would be flippant to tell objectors to buck up and shut up '“ there are genuine grievances here about the additional parking, traffic, and the overcrowding that comes with it. These are significant problems across the city.

No matter how architecturally sympathetic the plans are, the fact remains that these flats will bring extra bodies in to the area.

It is, however, well established that students do bring extra money into the area, and these young people could very well end up life-long citizens in the region.

And if there was no need or market for student housing, would firms keep creating it? Simple economics suggests not.

Yes, we are  an island city, but do we want to become increasingly insular in every sense and make '˜outsiders' feel unwelcome because they have come here to learn? Or do we want to embrace the opportunities that new blood can bring to the city?