Thursday, 20 February 2014
NEW GUIDELINES INTRODUCED TO CLARIFY RULES ON HMOs
Members of the council’s Planning Committee have approved new guidelines which aim to prevent unacceptable concentrations of Houses in Multiple Occupation across Thanet.
At their meeting last night (Wednesday 19 February) members agreed that although applications would still be considered on their individual merits, they would give special attention to applications that would result in more than 10% of HMOs within a 100 metre radius.
The approach has been introduced following concerns raised by local people around the number of houses being used, or proposed for use, as multiple occupancy student accommodation close to the University Campus at Broadstairs.
Cabinet Member for Planning, Cllr David Green, wanted to see clearer guidelines introduced when determining whether HMOs are approved. He said: “I’ve raised the issue at Planning Committee because it’s clear that local people are concerned. The current guidelines are open to quite wide interpretation. We need to be sure that we can legitimately consider whether approving a new HMO is ultimately right for the local community.
“These new guidelines will ensure that we can objectively assess whether approving a new HMO would constitute an unacceptable concentration and potentially detrimentally impact upon the character of the area.
“We’re keen to get the balance right here. We support the local University and want to ensure there are facilities in place to support the further education of our young people, but this needs to be done in a way that complements the local community.”
The guidance has been introduced as an interim measure and will be replaced by the district’s new Local Plan once approved.
The new policy will not impact on the Cliftonville West Renewal Area where a restrictive approach is already applied to prevent high concentrations of HMOs.