Students celebrate success over Canterbury council policy but issue warning to commit
Students across universities and colleges in Canterbury are celebrating at securing policies in the Higher and Further Education in Canterbury Impact Review, conducted by Canterbury City Council.
The project, commissioned by Canterbury City Council in September 2015, carried out a review into the economic, physical and social contributions of educational institutions in the city.
Canterbury Christ Church Students’ Union, Canterbury College Students’ Union, Kent Union and University for the Creative Arts Students’ Union, collectively representing 29,000 students in Canterbury, sat on the commission working group and contributed to the report and its findings.
Amongst the recommendations from the report, which goes out to public consultation today, students secured commitments to drive up voter registration through accessible technology and tackle the dwindling sexual health services in the city. Canterbury City Council has also agreed to publish data annually on its controversial Article 4 Directions policy which will prove whether it has a positive or negative impact, if any at all. Students campaigned strongly against its implementation.
Whilst many positives have come out of the report students have warned that the council must commit to advancing some of the students’ unions recommendations to avoid appearing stagnant. One of these areas is a firm commitment to removing deemed consent of letting boards largely considered an eyesore and nuisance, and may help to bring down targeted burglary against student properties.
Students have also voiced concerns that the council haven’t been strong enough at tackling the rising costs of accommodation in its report. Students’ unions have recommended that the council close the loophole that allows property developers to build student accommodation without affordability regulations subjected to other residential buildings.
Rory Murray, Union President of Kent Union said;
“It’s been an overwhelmingly positive experience working on this report with the council and a range of other important groups such as residents associations. I am particularly pleased that this report has been based on fact not fiction, actively disproving some of the myths around students in the city.
“I’m thrilled that this report shows some real positive outcomes ahead for students and other residents with the council committing to improving voter registration and sexual health services. We are also pleased that the council will release annual figures on the use of its controversial Article 4 Directions policy showing if it will have a positive or negative impact, if any at all.
“We are, however, disappointed that the council hasn’t fully committed to some of our recommendations. We believe that the final report must recommend introducing a code for letting boards, widely considered a nuisance, and commit to closing the loophole on property developers providing affordable housing for students. We will continue to push for this to happen.
“I’m very proud of the work we have done on this project that tackles issues that although disproportionately affect students will have a positive impact on all residents. We look forward to working with the council on this moving forward.”
Notes for editors:
- For more information, further comment or interview: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Canterbury Christ Church Students’ Union is the representative body for students at Canterbury Christ Church University
- Canterbury College Students’ Union is the representative body for students at Canterbury College
- Kent Union is the representative body for students at the University of Kent
- University for the Creative Arts Students’ Union is the representative body for students at the University for Creative Arts
- Student Impact Scrutiny Review  https://www.canterbury.gov.uk/media/533966/studentmain.pdf
- Higher and Further Education in the Canterbury District Impact Review 2016 https://www.canterbury.gov.uk/media/1381770/HE-FE-November-Draft-Report.pdf
- Canterbury City Council introduced Article 4 Directions on 25 February 2016 https://www.canterbury.gov.uk/news/2016/february/canterburys-article-4-comes-into-force/