There is foundation to the claims that there are student rooms empty, despite what Plaid Cymru Cllr Dyfrig Jones claims.There are currently 135 properties with at least 1 room empty, and there are over 300 empty rooms across Bangor. These are the properties of landlords who are registered with the University, and not those landlords that are only licensed by Gwynedd Council, of which there are many more.
This is 60 rooms, in addition to the 200+ rooms to be built on Dean Street by 2015, an additional 21 rooms by on the High Street for September 2014, and the additional 400 rooms being built by the University, meaning less first year students moving into the private sector.
And these are in addition to the recent developments, and other planning applications in the pipeline.
Students do bring economic benefit to the area, but when there is a surplus of student accommodation in Bangor, this argument doesn’t hold water. Not only is this development unnecessary, it does not meet the potential for a site like Ty Glyn, but it also means that accommodation prices for students will rise, with some private providers already pricing rooms at £120+ per week.
Furthermore there is also a deep rooted problem with affordable housing in Bangor, meaning that people struggle to afford properties in Bangor, limiting the number of students who remain in the area which creates economic need and graduate-level jobs, the number of people coming to work and live in Bangor, and the number of families that can live in Bangor.
These issues are paramount in maintaining the character of the City of Bangor, and stimulating the local economy, something which Gwynedd seems to have forgotten.
Bangor Liberal Democrats are working with Gwynedd Council Officers to ensure that the new Joint Local Development Plan for Gwynedd includes stronger policies on student accommodation, to ensure fairness and quality of provision in Bangor and across Gwynedd.