Student house champions scheme to expand after street complaints fall
COMPLAINTS about student houses in two East Oxford streets have fallen dramatically following the launch of a new scheme.
House champions are individuals in shared homes who agree to manage areas like waste, recycling and minimising the impact of parties on neighbours.
Now the scheme is due to expand after the number of warning notices served on student homes in the two streets fell from 76 last academic year to none so far this year.
The number of complaints to the council about waste issues at student houses in the area also went down, from more than 50 between September 2011 and January 2012 to just one in the same period in 2012-13.
Divinity Road Area Residents’ Association chairman Elizabeth Mills said: “After years of suffering antisocial behaviour, noise and mess, we really do see an improvement in the behaviour of student residents in our streets.
“Ever since we heard about the scheme we have been interested to see whether it could make a difference.
“We are pleased to see the city council and Oxford Brookes University working in a genuine partnership to improve the quality of lives for residents.”
Student wardens from Brookes have now expanded the scheme, speaking to students living in Divinity Road, Southfield Road and Bartlemas Road.
It sees students educated on recycling and waste, noise pollution and antisocial behaviour.
Divinity Road resident Dr Allan Chapman, 66, said: “I’m all in favour of anything which can make this area quieter and better. The idea that someone in each house takes responsibility strikes me as very good.”
Warden and third-year childhood studies student Felicity Emmerson, 22, said: “We have found students very responsive and eager to work with the council in the house champion scheme, as well as seeing great improvements in the areas where the scheme has been running.
“The scheme has seen students work together with the council to act as responsible and conscientious members of their community.”
Warden and architecture diploma student Chris Hopkison, 24, said: “The scheme is an informative measure, better educating students on topics such as recycling, bin management and noise pollution considerations, particularly understanding the impact of house parties on neighbours.
“Secondly, the scheme provides a fast, simple and efficient point of contact to the students should any issues arise.”
City executive board member for safer communities Dee Sinclair said: “This scheme worked really well in Regent and Denmark Street in October and we are pleased that we have been able to move it to Divinity Road.
“We want students to enjoy their time in Oxford and some even stay in the city, so it is important that they are encouraged to become part of the community.”