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Bristol businesses say number of students in city is affecting local economy

Thousands of students are moving to university this week. Photo: ITV West Country

Bristol businesses say the fact students are away for half of the year affects income and is costing the local economy.

Freshers week sees thousands of students arrive ready to begin their degrees.

Some business owners say the number of students arriving in the city needs to be controlled.

Freshers week sees thousands of students arrive ready to begin their degrees. Credit: ITV West Country

Bristol welcomed nearly 9,000 students over the weekend.

Bath University also opened its gates to 8,800 new students and 2,300 freshers started at the University of Gloucestershire.

Bristol welcomed nearly 9 thousand students over the weekend. Credit: ITV West Country

University of Bristol says it contributes massively to the local economy.

A recent independent report put the economic value of the university to the city at £720m.

The same report also estimates that UoB supports 13,300 jobs in the region.

Students contribute to local economies through accommodation and other expenses. Credit: ITV West Country

UoB students Caitlin Marshall and Mary Richardson say they enjoy being a part of the city.

The second-year students say they contribute enough to the local economy to make up for the time when they are away.

I think students are a really valuable market to the city. when it comes to the housing sector and all the businesses and the bars and the clubs. Even stuff like book shops and cafes they really do rely on students and I think when we are here we more than make up for the fact that we're not here for some of the time.

– Mary Richardson, Student

A lot of businesses have students working there part time. There is a little bit of an issue of people going home for what is quite a long summer break.

– Caitlin Marshall
Students like Caitlin and Mary look forward to moving into their student housing. Credit: ITV West Country

Local business owners say the change in population when students leave the area has a massive effect on business.

The whole area empties by 50+ percent and the area just goes to a ghost town. It's a problem where you have to adjust the way you trade.

– Brad Francis, Publican

You pay the same amount of rent whether they're here or not so you've got to be able to cover that while they're here. There's definitely more [students] here now.

– Sally Bassnett, Florist
University of Bristol plans to create a new campus near Temple Meads. Credit: ITV West Country

Overall there are more than 40 thousand full time students in Bristol and that number continues to grow with a new UoB campus for 5,000 students planned near Temple Meads.

UoB says many of its students do contribute to the city year round.

I think growth in our numbers is really positive, I think we have to be realistic about just how much the city can take.

I think that there's a lot of positives that the students bring to the community and actually a lot of them do stay around so they're not just seasonal transient people.

– Caroline Court, University of Bristol

Bristol City Council says it is in discussions to "make sure all communities can grow together".