Outrage over plans to kick students out of Jesmond

More studentsCouncillor Ron Armstrong’s suggestions for reducing the number of students in Jesmond have come under fire from several sections of the local community, with some attributing the housing plans to prejudice against students rather than concern for Jesmond’s long- term sustainability.

Councillor Armstrong is currently spearheading plans to build student housing in areas which are more deprived than the traditionally middle- class Jesmond.  He has said he hopes this will create a “better and more sustainable community” in Jesmond.

“Cllr. Armstrong lives in Jesmond and is letting his negative experiences of students in communities dictate his ill-thought out policy of using housing and planning as a type of social engineering,” said a spokesman for the National Landlord’s Association.

David Hickling, community officer at Newcastle University Union Society told JesmondLocal:  “It is a tiny minority of irresponsible students that perpetrate anti-social behaviour, and I resent the fact that all students are tarnished with this brush. Students make up 13.6% of the city’s population whilst accordingly 13% of anti-social behaviour and noise complaints involve students. Simply shifting students into purpose-built accommodation is not going to solve these problems. Instead we should be working to isolate and deal with genuine cases of persistent anti-social behaviour within our neighbourhoods.”

Beatrice Brown, a student living in Jesmond, believes that most students would be outraged by the idea:“I appreciate that there is a problem with students in Jesmond and anti-social behaviour but this is just extreme. The idea that we are being marginalised and removed from the community to be segregated in a purpose built area is ridiculous. If there was to be an area solely for students, it would be an obvious hotspot for crimes: students are notoriously vulnerable when it comes to being robbed and I think this would perpetuate the problem further.”

Tom Hardwick, local government Labour candidate for South Jesmond said that he did not think this move would affect the Lib Dem’s popularity in Jesmond, due to a lack of student voters: “It’s crucial that students realise that they can vote in Newcastle. Without the student vote, however, there will be little impact on the Lib Dem’s popularity because of this.”

11 thoughts on “Outrage over plans to kick students out of Jesmond”

  1. Fiona Clarke says:

    I disagree with Councillor Armstrong’s view of students, but, as a long-term resident, I recognise there are problems when such a high proportion of the housing is rented. Many of the properties look very run-down – gardens overgrown and full of litter, letting boards by many front doors, back lanes full of bins and rotting rubbish. Short-term tenants don’t usually have much pride in their neighbourhood, whether they are students or any other demographic. I would prefer to see a more balance community, although I agree that the student population sustains the local economy and keeps the area lively.

  2. Joshua Kerslake says:

    Hi, I am a Journalism student at Northumbria and a resident of Jesmond, for my next article I am writing about the proposal to move students out of Jesmond and the impact it would have on the area.

    Fiona, I would love to include what you have said in my work, as I am going to interview residents of Jesmond and as you are a long-term resident of the area and you have published a very broad view on the topic, it would suit my work perfectly.

    Please let me know if that is alright and also if you have any other views on the subject.

    Thank you.

  3. Fiona Clarke says:

    Hi Joshua,

    I’m happy to be quoted or interviewed. I’ve known Jesmond all my life. It was always a popular area with students, because it’s so convenient, but now many streets are almost exclusively student, whereas the community used to be more diverse.

  4. Jane Cooper says:

    I think those objecting to the desire to create a “better and more sustainable community” in Jesmond, both here and on other postings on the website, are missing the point. They also seem to believe that Jesmond has always been how it is now, or that is was ‘nothing’ before the students moved in and brought it to life.

    First point – 20 years ago Jesmond was a vibrant, mixed community and there was a ‘village’ atmosphere. We had such a good range of facilites that it was a very self-sufficient place to live. Between the green grocers, wool & haberdashery shop, health food shops & delis, flower shops, card & gift shops, Browns art, butchers, fishmonger, bakers, chemists, Post Offices, hardware shop, clothing stores and small WM Low’s supermarket, you could usually buy everything you needed within walking distance of your house. The student I overheard on her mobile recently, in Tescos, complaining about the lack of quail eggs, would have been able to pop down to Holly Avenue and get then in the butchers there.

    The population, despite what people claim, was very mixed. There aren’t just the big houses with large gardens, but lots of terraced houses with small back yards and lots of Tyneside flats. Our children grew up playing with other local children in the back lanes. I know that some families with children attending youth groups were eligible for financial assistance – so not all wealthy middle class!

    There were students, and they added to the general mix and atmosphere. You didn’t really notice, during University vacations, that areas of Jesmond had become barren deserted graveyards, as is the case now. That’s because the students were just one group among many different groups of residents, so the long term population, although still diverse, was in the majority – and it is this that has such an effect on the nature of a community, the state of the streets, the external condition of houses and the appearance of front yards/gardens.

    Since the temporary, transient student population became so overwhelming in number and influence, Jesmond has seen an enormous loss in the diversity of shops and variety of restaurants/coffee shops. Whole streets are virtually empty, especially in the summer. The unique little coffee shops have been replaced by bland chains.

    Many houses and flats are no longer primarily places for people to live, but an investment opportunity and a business asset. This does have a huge impact on a community.

    To address the point made about purpose built student housing being a magnet for thieves – well with virtually whole streets being inhabited part-time by students, with a multitude of Victorian doors and windows to break into, yard gates being left unlocked, or open, or broken because a landlord doesn’t have the same incentive as the homeowner to immediately repair it and keep the property secure – I strongly suspect that Police figures will show significantly more burglaries from student properties in Jesmond than from purpose-built student accommodation.

    Headlines suggesting that all students should be kicked out of Jesmond are incorrect – I don’t know of anyone in authority who is suggesting any such thing. However the number of students living in Jesmond is now so high that it is having a significant adverse effect on the community and its infrastructure. Jesmond needs a reduction in the number of students so that they are once again a balanced part of a vibrant, diverse community.

  5. Keith Metcalf says:

    There is also the issue that just because more student accommodation is built in Shieldfield it doesn’t follow that the students who presently choose to live in Jesmond will opt to change areas. Jesmond has a reputation as a smart cool place to live especcially among the wealthier students at Newcastle Uni. I cant see them moving to other areas, It’s more likely that the new accommodation will attract students who currently are more likely to end up in Heaton and Arthurs Hill. Probably a bad time to buy a flat in those areas?

  6. Lucy Camden says:

    I am a third year student at Newcastle University and my dissertation is about the impact of students in Jesmond- I will be looking at the Economic, Social and Cultural impacts that students have on local businesses, local residents, the physcial environment and property prices.
    Fiona and Jane- I think the comments that you have made here are very interesting and provide different viewpoints. Would it be possible to speak with you, either in person or via email/letter, to ask you a few questions that will be of great help to my research?
    I hope this is not a problem- your comments reflect exactly the viewpoints I will need for my research, and I would be very interested to hear any other views or opinions on the matter.
    Thank you,
    Lucy Camden

  7. DC says:

    I have been considering moving to jesmond, but it is the predominance of students that deters me (I went to school in Jesmond thirty years ago and know it well). Not just because of the attendant noise that accompanies them – which is fine within limits, BUT because their houses are full of laptops, mobiles, and other electronic gadgets, and also have the least security, they attract a whole host of “n’er do wells” from all over. It is also a downside of having a desirable residential area so close to the city centre. Jesmond needs regulated specific student areas away from the general populus, and a strong visible community police force. Neither look likely anytime soon.

  8. Dave says:

    I have been here for 18 months and all I’ve seen its broken glass puddles of wee and young lads peeing up the side of people’s houses. Just this evening. have had one of them trying to set a mattress a blaze on st Georges terrace.
    I will not have my street stinking of urine and broken glass! Do any of these where i live and i will throttle you! Yes, sometimes violence is the answer.

  9. Danuta O'Neill says:

    I am a home owner and have been a resident of Jesmond for over 20 years. I brought 3 children up here and there is much about the area and it’s history that makes it special. What really saddens me about certain parts of Jesmond though is the urban dereliction and general state of delipidation. Fiona is right about transient tenants. However, I don’t blame the students. In fact I rather like the youthful and cosmopolitan ambience that having them around creates. For me the real villains in the piece are the absent landlords whose only concern is to maximise their profits. Political pressure needs to be brought to bear to enforce them to address the issues affecting fronts of property. Yes, we have health and safety legislation. However, the issues I’m referring to are aesthetics in nature and impact on the psychology of those of us who live here all the time. Something needs to be done.

  10. J park says:

    Student are a problem in Jesmond , this is a fact or we wouldn’t be discussing it . The people who disagree don’t live under them having to put up with arrogant behaviour and noise that is unacceptable . Moving them isn’t the solution . The problem is there is no deterrent. I know this as I have been in touch with Northumbria uni . Police 101 , council, out local politician and the land lady … Not one of them have any interest or power to solve it . The night watch team has been removed and the students know this. So what do they expect to happen . Bring back an effective deterrent and maybe we will have a solution . Unfortunately we are having to move out of our lovely home as the powers that be are only interested in the money the students bring in . Someone above mentioned violence it seems to be the only solution for some people as the services you pay so much council tax for are a complete waste if time and money !

  11. Laura hall says:

    Does anyone know if the student problem is the same in the jesmond vale area eg. on and around rosebury crescent, Salisbury gardens etc? I used to live in west jesmond (Ashleigh grove) and it was unbearable!

Comments are closed.