The Guardian – Town v gown: is the student boom wrecking communities?

In towns across the country, many locals fear the relentless expansion of universities threatens the fabric of their neighbourhoods
by Brian Oliver

For some, they represent the very best of British, hubs of learning and commerce attracting the brightest and the best from around the world who bring huge wealth to spend. They can even breathe hope into rundown towns and cities, with the promise of jobs and cash to rejuvenate areas deserted by traditional industries.

But for others, Britain’s burgeoning universities are anything but a blessing, as the thousands of students they attract transform the neighbourhoods they move into, raising property prices, disrupting locals’ lives with their exuberant lifestyles, transforming areas that rush to cater for the tastes of their new young clientele. The process has even spawned its own, ugly term – studentification.

The historic Scottish university town of St Andrews is one place that has felt a huge impact from the expansion of higher education. Since the 1990s, the number of students has doubled to 9,000, while the resident population has shrunk by 40% to around 7,000. Families keep leaving and local primary schools are struggling, with a new intake each year now of around 400 four-year-olds compared to 1,000 in the 1980s.

Last May, local councillor Linda Holt – who later agreed that she had used inappropriate language – said the displacement of permanent residents by students was “a kind of social cleansing”.

Read more courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/sep/23/town-v-gown-is-the-student-boom-wrecking-communities

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