Hull City Council has listened to residents’ concerns and taken another step towards much greater control of the spread of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).
A Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) will help avoid concentrations of HMOs and protect residents’ quality of life and local environment by giving the council greater control over the creation of new HMOs.
The new SPD seeks to avoid existing family housing being ‘sandwiched’ between two HMOs on either side, or three or more HMOs in a row being created.
This approach has already been used successfully to turn down a planning application for a new HMO in Melbourne Street, off Newland Avenue, where too many HMOs is a concern regularly raised by local residents. The guidance will continue to apply going forward when the council deals with applications for a change of use from a single-family house to an HMO.
While some HMOs are a helpful part of mixture of housing, areas with too many in one place can experience anti-social behaviour, noise and disturbance, plus other impacts on the environment including waste management and parking pressures.
This is another step towards the council taking a much firmer stance against too many HMOs in any one area.
The next big step is a review of the council’s HMO policy as part of the review of the Hull Local Plan. This is likely to include a reduction in the existing 50% threshold which applies in parts of the city, above which HMO applications will generally be recommended for refusal. The council will listen to residents’ and stakeholders’ views as part of the review.
Councillor Mike Ross, Leader of Hull City Council, said: “It is clear that in some parts of the city there are too many HMOs concentrated in a small area. This has harmed the character of what should be family-friendly streets. As a councillor for the Newland Avenue and lower Beverley Road area, I have seen this problem myself first hand for many years.”
“This SPD is the first step to changing the council’s position around HMOs, but I want to go further. Residents will have a chance to have their say on this issue with the review of the Local Plan, which has now started.”
“I am determined to reset the appropriate threshold for how many HMOs can be in any one area, and the standards landlords must meet.”
A copy of the new supplementary planning document on HMOs can be viewed on the council’s website www.hull.gov.uk.