Fife Council’s Housing Services has published the results of its consultation on the the introduction of an HMO overprovision policy in St Andrews. At its meeting in August 2018, the Committee considered the two options of a) no increase and b) allowing an additional 180-200 HMOs. It concluded that, on the basis of available evidence, its preferred option was for no increase but that the two options should be the subject of a public consultation with residents. students and local organisations/groups.
The process of consulting residents involved sending out questionnaires, one to each St Andrews household, while students were invited to respond individually online. Households and organisations/groups had the options of responding via the paper questionnaire or online.
The three separate consultations were carried between the 4th – 28th
February 2019 and respondents were asked to answer the survey question:
‘A HMO over-provision policy for St Andrews should:
• Option 1: Allow no growth in HMOs (0% or zero additional HMOs)
• Option 2: Allow growth in HMOs (up to 3% or 184 additional HMOs).’
Response rates and results:
• Households: Response rate 34%. 6,160 questionnaires were delivered to St Andrews households. In total 2,098 verified responses were received and there were 299 spoiled responses. Result: 1,633 (78%) household responses stated Option 1, and 465 (22%) stated Option 2.
• Organisations/groups: Response rate 4%. 475 questionnaires were sent out and 21 verified responses were received with no spoiled responses. Result: 12 (57%) of these responses stated Option 1, and 9 (43%) stated Option 2.
• Students: Response rate 9%. The University website states that it has 8,984 students. The number of verified student responses received was 828 and there were 171 spoiled responses. Result: 80 (10%) students’ responses stated Option 1, and 748 (90%) stated Option 2.
Editor’s note: Assuming that the occupants of each household agreed on the option selected, and using the Scottish average of 2.4 occupants per household, the result of the household survey is equivalent to 3919 residents being in favour of no increase in the number of HMOs. Around 8% of the responses for the household survey were aged 16-24 and almost all of them preferred Option 2, allowing some growth in HMOs, suggesting that a significant number of students may have participated in the household survey and that the percentage in favour of Option 1 might therefore have been significantly higher than the 78% recorded.
Although the high percentage of households/residents opting for no growth in HMOs might have been expected, the really surprising result of the survey is how few students are engaged with the issue and motivated to take part.
Click here for Community and Housing Services Committee’s agenda and supporting papers for its meeting on the 11th April.
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