Council to tighten controls on HMOs?

Press Release: 08/12/2016

Winnall Sign

Following the recent increase in the number of ‘houses in multiple occupation’ (HMOs) in Winnall and the surrounding area, the City Council is considering whether tighter planning controls are needed, similar to those introduced in Stanmore earlier this year.

In the New Year, the Council will look into the option of introducing an ‘Article 4 Direction’ in Winnall and any other areas of the city where there is information to suggest that increasing numbers of HMOs are causing an imbalance in the mix of housing in those neighbourhoods.

A direction would remove permitted development rights to convert single family properties to HMOs meaning such conversions would need planning permission from the Council.

This is not to say that all applications would be refused but proposals would be assessed against Local Plan policy which seeks to control the numbers and locations of new HMOs to avoid the proliferation of this type of accommodation in particular areas of Winchester.

Cllr Caroline Horrill, the City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, said:

HMOs provide an essential housing option for many residents in the city. However, the proliferation in numbers in any one area can have a significantly detrimental impact on communities and I would support some control on the growth in numbers. The Council will also be looking at introducing licensing of all HMOs to ensure they are well-managed and the impact on neighbourhoods is minimised.

Additional planning controls won’t prevent individual applications or stop specific properties being converted to HMOs, nor should they. However, they could help to prevent numbers escalating too high and keep a balance to the City’s traditional family housing estates.