Student Liaison

As the Redland and Cotham areas are so close to the University of Bristol (UoB), they house a large number of student residents. There is also a significant local population of University of the West of England (UWE) students. This brings certain issues to the fore - from points of planning to community relations.

Planning issues...

The knock on effect of many student houses in a concentrated area

Large Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) which are 3 floors or over and 7 residents or more require planning approval for change of use from a single dwelling house.

After great efforts put in by the National HMO Lobby and many others, the previous Labour Government Consultation on HMOs resulted in a change in the planning system under the previous government, requiring planning permission for conversion of buildings into small HMOs, Use Class C4.

C4 Houses in multiple occupation - small shared houses occupied by between three and six unrelated individuals, as their only or main residence, who share basic amenities such as a kitchen or bathroom.

But before we could celebrate properly, there was the General Election of 2010 and a change of Government! The Coalition Government went back on the changes and allowed change of use to small HMOs as permitted development.

The system now requires Councils to bring in Article 4 Directions, if they wish to remove permitted development rights for change of use from C3 Dwelling House to C4 small HMO. 

Bristol City Council have adopted Article 4 directions for both Cotham and Redland wards, among others. See BCC website for details 

See also the Bristol Neighbourhood Planning Network  NPN website here


Student and community relations...

From noise, rubbish and good communications

Locally, the handbooks for students of both universities living in the community are thorough and helpful. They are available online and students are expected to know their contents. 

The universities and Bristol City Council are also coordinating responses to noise complaints involving students, and the council hopes to implement on the spot fines for some noise incidents.

End of year rubbish has been a problem year on year but collaborative efforts from Bristol City Council and both universities have targeted problem areas, funding extra collections and bagging arrangements and encouraging donations to charity of unwanted items. We are grateful to the universities for recognising that there are problems and for taking action.

UWE and UoB have also established a community liaison group which provides a forum for representatives from the council, the universities, the students' union and residents' associations (including RCAS) to work together to ensure that the benefits brought by living in a university city are not negated by local problems of noise, waste and anti-social behaviour.


Communication is a very important factor in good relations, and if you let students know what is

or is not acceptable behaviour it can often prevent problems from growing. Staff from UoB and UWE now regularly visit student residences in the area to remind them of their responsibilities, and are quick to respond to complaints.

A 'Student 'Welcome'  sheet has been produced for you to download and print, which can be presented as a friendly introduction which outlines some of the aspects of living in the broader community. (See below for previous RCAS Student letter).

In addition, a Resident Support information sheet (2 pages) has been created to download and print out, which intends to...

    1: give guidence as to why / how and when to knock on student household doors.

    2: provide a quick reference of useful contacts
        (including University Community offices / relevant BCC depts) 

Both sheets are also available ready printed and may be obtained at the RCAS AGM and BCR Neighbourhood Partnership Forums. This project was made possible thanks to UoB / UWE's Community Grants (see below)

At the same time, please continue to send complaints of noise, rubbish or other student anti-social behaviour to the Universities, the Council and to the RCAS Student Liaison representative -

NOTE: If issues are not reported to both the University and City Council, they will not be aware of the problems and will not log them nor prioritise programmes of action to deal with them.

More information may now be found on the new Bristol Student Community Partnership website, created by both Univerisities and Bristol City Council. It includes a link to the 'Community' Newsletter, highlighting the positive aspects of students in the wider community. Printed copies may be obtained by contacting either of the * emails below

Useful links:

- UoB

* - UWE   (look at ‘community’ section)

UWE Community Liaison page -  Community contact - Nigel England - UoB's Community Fund (grants up to £250.00)  - UWE's 'Community Together' Fund (grants up to £250.00)

Information provided by UWE:

Resource For Residents:
Resources for tackling Community Problems

Given to Students:
Keeping the Peace - Summary version

Keeping the Peace - Complete version

Tips suggested by Bristol Mediation:

Living with your neighbours - General good neighbourly advice

Other examples of Student Welcome Letters: - Previous RCAS letter - Clifton Down Community Association - Cotham Vale