Residents of the Garden Quarter of Chester have long been irritated by the constant appearance of lettings boards on every street in the area. The boards go up in September/October and seem, for the most part, to remain for the year, until they are replaced with new ones.
The area has been dubbed ‘studentville’, a term unpopular with many residents in part due to the unsightly boards on so many houses in the area.
Speaking as a ward councillor for residents in the Garden Quarter, Cllr Bob Rudd has previously said on the issue, “people who are part of the area and part of the Garden Quarter do not want it to be called that”. Cllr Rudd said he had been contacted by a number of residents who were “really annoyed” by the labelling of their community.
However, the campaign against these boards has a new and surprising leader. Mike Hannigan, owner of Chester’s largest independent student letting agency, Bed Student Rentals has this week announced his intention to remove all lettings boards from properties and has urged his fellow student letting agencies to do the same.
“In today’s market, the letting board is unnecessary”, Mike says, “it’s an outdated marketing tool, when students will for the most part look to our website and social media for more up to date information about our rooms and their availability.”.
Mike went on to say, “We love the Garden Quarter, it’s a diverse neighbourhood that we are proud to be a part of. The Garden Quarter has a real social conscience and the lettings boards run against that.”
The Lettings boards are also an environmental issue. As Mike points out, “the boards are essentially a single use plastic and using them knowing what damage they can cause is irresponsible. We have always taken them down as soon as property is let and now, we are taking them down for good.”
Bed Student Rentals in the last year let rooms room sin over 180 properties, the impact of removing just these boards alone will be noticeable in the area.
Mike is joined in his campaign against the boards by Matt Baker, Co- Chair of the Garden Quarter Community Association. “The Garden Quarter residents have been very unhappy with the proliferation of TO LET signs over the past few years which in our opinion have added to the degradation of some of our much loved and otherwise cared for streets. We strive to be an area of real vibrancy, where students and long-term visitors live happily alongside each other. Streets with well-kept gardens, planters and flowers send a far better message of collective pride in this eclectic neighbourhood, rather than year-round non-recyclable plastic TO LET signs. We welcome the bold decision by the team at Bed Student Rentals to remove these signs and fervently hope that the other rental agencies understand our message and quickly follow suit.”