Great Yarmouth Borough Council has seen hotspots of local problems with a concentration of privately rented properties. Pockets of private rented properties are often linked to a high turnover of residents, poor property conditions and anti-social behaviour. This has been the case particularly in the wards of Nelson and Central & Northgate. Absent landlords plus properties and tenancies that are poorly managed make this worse.
Councils have several tools to address these issues, including selective licensing of private rented properties. To introduce this, councils must demonstrate a robust evidence base. Great Yarmouth Borough Council had already assessed the evidence at ward level, narrowing down the two wards with the worst problems. They asked M·E·L Research to analyse a wider range of evidence to support the particular neighbourhoods a selective licensing scheme should be introduced, if the Full Council agreed to it.
In 2018, M·E·L Research collated and analysed a wide selection of data to identify which LSOAs (neighbourhoods based on ONS geography) stand out within these two wards, to guide where selective licensing could be considered by the Council. A licensing scheme can be introduced for various reasons, so our analysis mirrored these grounds, such as a significant and persistent problem caused by anti-social behaviour, poor property conditions and wider crime.
We analysed and presented data at LSOA level within the two wards, compared with Great Yarmouth as a whole, Norfolk and the East of England region. We included several GIS maps (as shown above), to show which areas had the worst problems.
Our robust evidence informed the business plan for introducing a selective licensing scheme in Great Yarmouth. The Council accepted the three neighbourhoods we had identified for their intended scheme. Having carried out a public consultation, the Full Council approved the licensing scheme, which began in January 2019.