Affordable housing in St Andrews

IssueJune 2008
Feature by Daniel Fisher

2 May saw University of St Andrews students take to the streets in protest against the closure of Fife Park, one of the University’s two budget halls. A proposed replacement hall would see prices for accommodation rocket from the present £52 per week to a possible £110–130!

The Lower Rents NOW! campaign, a self-organised and independent student and supporters group, has been organising to stop the closure and organised and mobilised for a march and protest camp.
St Andrews has the third highest cost of living for students in Britain. This reinforces the elitist image of a university that has Prince William as one of its graduates, dissuading less affluent students from attending. The town already has a huge disparity of wealth between the majority of students and its local permanent population who are decamping to nearby Dundee, or central Fife. Affordable housing is a major issue in St Andrews for both local people and less well-off students. Lower Rents NOW! campaign plans to keep up the pressure that led the University’s Rector to address their demonstration and say “Your views are being heard” – the first time opposition to the planned closure had been acknowledged by the decision makers.
Hoping to build on the momentum recently gained, the campaign intends to extend the struggle for affordable housing and not allow the fight to dissipate during the summer recess.

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