Planning Policy Statement 3 (PPS3) ‘Housing’ and its supporting practice guidance on Strategic Housing Market Assessments address issues relating to the provision of student housing.
The Regional Spatial Strategy and Local Development Framework Core Output Indicators—Update 2/2008 addresses monitoring issues relating to the provision of student housing.
The way in which student halls of residence are treated for planning policy purposes and valuation purposes differs. Under the planning system, uses of land and buildings are categorised through reference to the Town and Country (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended). It is for local planning authorities to determine, in the first instance, depending on the individual circumstances of each case, whether student halls of residence would fall under one of the residential use classes or would be considered ‘sui generis' (i.e. does not fit into any of the specified use classes).
For valuation purposes, student halls of residence are treated as domestic property, and subject to council tax bandings. Where they form part of the same hereditament as a college, they will be treated as composite property. The value of the domestic element of a composite is apportioned out of the value of the whole. Though they are banded, they are an exempt class under Class M of the Council Tax (Exempt Dwellings) Order 1992 (SI No 558), and no council tax is payable.
Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing (PPS3) requires all local planning authorities to adopt an evidence based approach to assessing current and future levels of need and demand for housing. Local authority housing targets are set through Regional Spatial Strategies. Houses of multiple occupation are taken into account as a single dwelling when establishing local authority housing targets for construction. Student halls of residence are not included because they are not available on the open market for occupation and often provide only temporary accommodation during term time.
Information is not collected centrally on the extent to which new additional student accommodation in university towns releases housing stock for non-student use.
As mentioned in my earlier answer, communal establishments, such as student accommodation, are not included in the regional spatial strategy housing targets. This is because they are not available for occupation on the open market and often provide only temporary accommodation during term time.