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Groups say ‘civic’ agreement should address student impact

Updated: Sep 30, 2023

Residents’ groups have urged the universities and city council to acknowledge that while the university sector brings many benefits to the city it also creates pressures on local communities that should be addressed.


Rapid expansion of student numbers over the past decade, particularly by University of Bristol, has led to large numbers of students living in rented accommodation in some areas, with consequences that include night-time noise disturbance and poor disposal of household waste.


Twelve residents’ associations (“the RAs”) who are affiliated with the Bristol Student Community Partnership, a forum set up by UoB, have urged that these issues be formally recognised in a Civic University Agreement that UoB is drafting with the University of the West of England, the City of Bristol College, and Bristol City Council.


In a submission to the CUA drafters, the associations say:


Public discourse about the role of the universities in the city has often been quick to acknowledge the benefits but slow to recognise any downsides. The RAs don’t doubt that, overall, the universities’ contribution is positive, but that doesn’t lessen the negative impacts felt by many residents. We do not accept that the downsides are the inevitable price we must pay to have the upsides; we want the problems to be addressed. Being open about them is a prerequisite for progress.


To see the full submission: Click here and select "CUA Submission". You can download the document or view it without downloading using the "eye" icon.


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Disclosure: I coordinate an email conversation on student matters between the 12 residents' associations referred to and am one of their representatives at the Bristol Student Community Partnership. The submission was approved unanimously by the groups.


The 12 are: Chandos Neighbourhood Association, Redland & Cotham Amenities Society, Highbury Residents Association, High Kingsdown Community Association, Richmond Area Residents Association, Grange & Mortimer Roads Residents Association, Clifton Down Community Association, Oakfield Residents Association, Clifton & Hotwells Improvement Society, BCR Street Scene Group, Cotham Vale & Trelawney Road group, and Richmond Terrace Residents Association.


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