Canterbury community

The impact of being a university city

Working with Canterbury City Council and its partners, we contributed to a comprehensive review of the impact of higher and further education in Canterbury.

This was the largest piece of work of its kind to be carried out in Canterbury and looked at the economic, social and physical impact of being a university city.

The review incorporated the views of residents’ associations, community groups, landlords, Kent Police, local residents and businesses, together with independent experts on university towns and cities.

Consultation video

Key findings


It is estimated that about 3,300 jobs and £909 million of the local economy value is due to the presence of the universities.


In 2016, the University of Kent took visitor bookings of 140,000 bed nights over a 13-week period. This is a vital addition to the 219,000 bed nights provided elsewhere in the city throughout the year.

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Students gave over a quarter of a million volunteering hours in 2014-2015, many of which contributed to improving the lives of some of the district’s most vulnerable residents.


Since 2011, the city has had Purple Flag accreditation recognising that Canterbury has a safe and enjoyable evening and night-time economy.


Having a large student population is financially beneficial for local health services, which receive funding per resident.

Anti-social behaviour

The universities have helped reduce disruption through the Street Marshall scheme, which aims to safeguard students and local residents and promote positive community relationships.

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A waste amnesty trialled in 2016 was successful in targeting the increase in household waste generated at the end of the academic year when students move out.

Problems associated with the upkeep of properties is not linked to student properties exclusively.


Investment by the University of Kent into regular and 24-hour bus service for the public, students and staff, supports aims to reduce car travel where possible.

There is no correlation between the students’ arrival in freshers’ week and above average traffic on the major roads in Canterbury.


The biggest factor that affects the availability of parking permits is road layout.

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Report outcomes

The findings generated 32 recommendations, which build upon the positive opportunities and minimise the negative impact for residents. Read the full report.

We are pleased to have been involved in such a substantial review and welcome the acknowledgement of the hugely positive impact the University has on the city.

During the process, we made new connections with local groups and organisations, and learnt more about our environment.

We look forward to working closely with partners to develop in the areas that have been highlighted for improvement, and will continue to support and progress areas found to be successful.

The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ. T: +44 1227 764000

Last Updated: 24/08/2017