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The Laz Word

As a huge new development is planned, Larry Neild asks do students add colour to our communities, or should they be all boxed off?

Published on August 17th 2009.

The Laz Word

ARE gigantic student ghettoes good for Liverpool, or for undergraduates?

Some of the more cynical may speculate such a big scheme by Liverpool Uni is not unconnected with reports that they want to flog off their vast student campus in suburban Mossley Hill

Such housing – what’s the collective noun ? an “dinnery of students” - in one place may bring peace and tranquillity for “normal” residents in the suburbs, used to being surrounded by bedsit communities.

But should students be collectively corralled away in one comfy barrack? The one dominating the city is that breeze-block-looking, stark and Soviet style Grand Central behind Lime Street station. It is home to over 1,000 students.

Now the University of Liverpool wants to build yet another huge abode, a development of more than 700 student rooms all on the same inner-city site.

The site, bordered by Myrtle Street, Grove Street and Chatham Street, will include 707 student bedrooms, ground floor refectory, social space, retail space, space for a restaurant/cafe and other mixed uses.

It will mean the bars and pubs around Hardman Street will only be a short taxi ride back – hey we’re talking about students here: they don’t do walking up hills.

Their numbers have increased massively in the last decade, and student accommodation has become big business. Today’s future teachers, meeja folk, astronauts and architects, won’t put up with the kind of accommodation provided by the likes of Rigsby in Rising Damp.

One commercial provider of student bedsits lays on everything, down to a knife and fork. All you need is a change of undies.

In some ways it makes sense to concentrate the living quarters of undergrads close to the places where they often (don't) attend lectures.

But love ‘em or loathe ‘em, students provide plenty of spending power in areas such as Edge Lane where the likes of Tesco Express and the little shops are happy to accept the bread and wine dollars.

And why shouldn’t students live within our communities so they can learn more about the city and its people?

The problem is live-and-let live students can upset the locals. Listening to a midnight commotion in a south Liverpool suburb, I went to investigate and, heading towards the main road taxi route, were a gang of students. One was dressed in a white tutu complete with satin top, another in a rather raunchy nurses outfit. And, yes, they were the guys.

Often they head back to barracks at around 5am, outplaying the gentle and emerging dawn chorus. Such student activity has led one leading academic to suggest lectures should not start till after 11am or even later.

Some of the more cynical may speculate such a big scheme by Liverpool uni is not unconnected with reports that they want to flog off their vast student campus in suburban Mossley Hill.

I bet the Brook House owners' stomachs are already churning at the thought of an exodus from Carnatic Hall.

Even more concerned will be the owners of some of the buildings where students really do understand the realities of rising damp.

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11 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousAugust 17th 2009.

Perhaps 'Good Neighbor' is an American. But are they here with a valid visa or are they what Americans refer rather xenophobically to as "an illegal"?

DigAugust 17th 2009.

Depends on the type of students you live by. Some of my old student acquaintances were riotous party animals living on Falkner Street a few years back. By coincidence I met their neighbour not so long ago. She said since my the party house ended and classical music students at LIPA moved in here life has finally become enjoyable again.

Good neighborAugust 17th 2009.

Living near students is lovely. They bring life and vitality to our inner city areas, leave them alone to enjoy themselves. They'll be dragged down to normal living like the rest of us at the end of their studies.

Good NeighborAugust 17th 2009.

How do ya know I'm not American?

Even Better NeighboUrAugust 17th 2009.

'Good neighbor', despite the spelling error, is absolutely correct.Anyone with an ounce of life in them will seriously question the motivations of the curmudgeonly old sods who whinge about students. (P.S. Before some old bigot like 'Scholar Street' starts cracking on, I am several decades too old to be a student, but at least I still have some joie de vivre).

Even Better NeighboUrAugust 17th 2009.

Good Neighbor expressed his/herself perfectly clearly. Scholar Street's reaction to the possibility that Good Neighbor may be American merely confirms my diagnosis of 'old bigot'.

Scholar StreetAugust 17th 2009.

Good Neighbor(sic) is obviously a student.Look at the awful spelling.

PeaceOnEarthAugust 17th 2009.

Great. The sooner they are all 'imprisoned' in the same place the better. The antics of the students in my area make me wonder about the future, given some of them will be the leaders and teachers for the next generation. Perhaps a curfew will help - have them all tucked up by 11 so they will be fresh for their lectures the next morning. Pigs and flying spring to mind so I won't build my hopes up.

Scholar StreetAugust 17th 2009.

'When in Rome..' as they say. I have to mis-spell words when I am in the United States and affect a silly loud voice and accent for them to understand what I am saying. For Americans not to reciprocate whilst in this country would be extremely rude.

Scholar StreetAugust 17th 2009.

"Old bigot"? Hardly, my remark was a comment to illustrate my continuing astonishment at how supposedly intelligent people can manage to go through sixteen or more years of full-time education (three of them in supposedly 'higher education') yet cannot spell and many cannot even express themselves verbally. I can only assume they were asleep, cheated or paid others to do their work. Also ‘Even Better NeighboUr’ no-one, least of all yourself is “several decades too old to be a student” – have you not heard of ‘Lifelong Learning’? Liverpool was the City of Lifelong Learning a couple of years ago. Education in this country is open to all of any age – as long as you have the money of course.

Sue DoamericanismAugust 17th 2009.

Grand Central? What a daft name for a barracks. I thought it was called the Unity Building

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