Student Housing in the News Again

Formed in 2010, Code Student Accommodation derives its growing profit margins from charging Leicester university students exorbitant rents (upwards of £99 a week). Code now proposes to build “a 14 storey block built on land to the south of the company’s existing accommodation at the previously-converted Equity Shoe factory in Western Road.” (June 22, Leicester Mercury) How nice. More luxury housing for students: just what Leicester needs!

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Code are, of course, no flash in the pan, and their parent company is Jamie Lewis Residential Letting, and their owner, Jamie Lewis, is good buddies with other local property tycoons — like for instance Roy Coley (of Sowden Group fame): that is the same Mr Coley who has just been given the honour of co-developing the site of the city Council’s former headquarters. (Mr Lewis and Mr Coley are the two lone owners of Braunstone Gate Properties.)

The Mercury article also points out how local businessman Rick Moore is acting as Code’s “acquisition consultant.” Mr Moore having recently served as the President of Leicestershire Chamber of Commerce, while currently acting as the chairman of the Leicester Miller Education Company, and Fullhurst Community College. All seems well for Leicester’s growing clique of property developers.

Of course Leicester City Council seems more than happy to look after such property tycoons, who continue to enrich themselves from those in our city who must sadly encumber themselves with tens of thousands of pounds of student debt: but what about their care of duty for those poor students who have already been put off from the high-price of further education? More to the point, where is the Council’s commitment to building the thousands of Council homes that are needed for the growing number of workers being forced to live off poverty pay in our fair city? Sadly these are priorities that have been cast aside by our Labour Council.

If Leicester’s own right-wing Blairite, Liz Kendall, is successful in seizing the national leadership of the Labour Party, then a reversal of the Labour Party’s already underwhelming commitment to affordable housing is completely off the cards. Nevertheless in contrast to the majority of Labour Councillors, it would be remiss to forget that there are still a handful of people in the Labour Party who support unions and are actively calling for a mass Council housing campaign, Jeremy Corbyn for example.

But ultimately, it seems very likely that the next leader of the Labour Party will not be Mr Corbyn, and so will not be an individual dedicated to fighting to reinvigorate the Labour Party’s democratic heritage of old. Therefore it is incumbent upon the working-class and their unions to disaffiliate from the Labour Party, in order that they may throw their weight behind a democratic and socialist political alternative that is willing to fight for their class.

A shorter version of this letter was sent to the Leicester Mercury mailbox on 22nd June. 

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