I READ with interest and concern the article in The Argus of April 18 concerning the proposal to create a large number of student flats on the old Lectern site in Lewes Road, Brighton.

One of the reasons put forward for the local authority to consider is that such a project, when completed, will release private landlords’ houses in multiple occupation for families.

It should be pointed out that the only profitable developments in this city that require no provision for infrastructure or affordable accommodation are student blocks.

In other words, such blocks are in reality the only viable form of development in this city.

Have no doubt that the accommodation, if permitted, will not be cheap and in all probability will exceed the cost of shared housing from private landlords by between 50 per cent and 100 per cent.

CRC Properties, who are proposing the development, allege that it will soak up shortages and take away students from houses in multiple occupation, i.e. small shared houses operated by private landlords.

The justification for building yet more student accommodation is that it will release small shared houses and return them to family occupation.

Brighton and Hove city councillors have been aware for a significant amount of time that shared houses, once converted to Brighton and Hove City Council standards, are no longer family houses and the rents able to be charged if they were returned to family use would be insufficient for landlords to earn a reasonable return on their investments.

What CRC Properties do not mention is that student housing is unsuitable for any other use and if there was not sufficient demand, those properties would soon have significant numbers of vacancies – as has happened in a number of areas of the country.

It’s about time that Brighton and Hove City Council thought more about such companies providing affordable accommodation for single people and not simply be allowed to climb on the bandwagon for the only viable property investment in this city.

Of course, CRC Properties would not entertain building any accommodation at affordable rents or even providing part of their proposed build for such a purpose.

Mike Stimpson, Chairman Southern Landlords Association, Milner Road, Brighton