MP calls for end to Hatfield versus University of Hertfordshire row
THE MP for Welwyn Hatfield has called for an end to the row between residents in Hatfield and students at the University of Hertfordshire.
Grant Shapps, the housing and local government minister, asked for the university and the residents to work together, in order to resolve recurring problems such as excessive noise, litter and anti-social behaviour.
Mr Shapss has also pledged to change the law surrounding Houses of Multiple Occupation, making it easier for local authorities to properly regulate properties used by students.
This week, Mr Shapps took Stephen Boffey, the University of Hertfordshire’s pro-vice chancellor of regional affairs, on a personal tour of Hatfield to hear first hand the problems residents face because of the behaviour of some of the uni’s students.
Mr Boffey also met newly elected borough councillors Lynne Sparks and Bukky Olawoyin, who both live in the town.
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Mr Shapps said: “The aim of the visit was for a senior university official to hear first hand from local residents about living in Hatfield alongside the university.
“Most residents accept the university has brought advantages to Hatfield, but it is undeniable that it has also introduced a lot of new problems.
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“We all want the university and town to work well alongside each other, but up until now we have sometimes struggled to encourage the university to play its full part in that relationship.”
Mr Boffey said: “I was pleased to meet with the various representatives on the community groups and listen to their concerns.
“I look forward to building on the excellent initiatives implemented by the university’s community partnership office in collaboration with students, the council, residents associations, our MP, and the police.”
The issue between residents and students has been made a priority by Welwyn Hatfield Council this year, with the appointment of former mayor Kim Langley as lead member on a new non-executive position called “Town and Gown”.