Council fighting the overdevelopment of HIMOs in Northampton

Published: Wednesday, 26 July 2017

In a fight to stop the overdevelopment of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HIMO) around Northampton town centre, the Borough Council is seeking government backing for its local policy.

The call for support comes after the Planning Inspectorate overturned council planning committee refusals on appeal, by giving the go ahead to ten out of 11 recent HIMO applications.

The number of planning applications for HIMOs in the town has been steadily increasing, as the opening of the new University of Northampton campus grows closer, with 13 applications being discussed by the planning committee this month alone.

The Council has enlisted the support of Andrew Lewer MP, whose constituency covers the area surrounding the new campus, and Michael Ellis MP whose constituency includes both the current campuses. Both these areas are popular for HIMOs development, and the MPs' support is important in ensuring the local policy is given due consideration when refused planning applications are appealed and reviewed by the Planning Inspectorate.

Both MPs have written to the Minister of State for Housing and Planning and will be continuing to meet with members of their constituency to ensure that the views of local residents are taken into account as part of their campaign for more transparent planning regulations.

The council’s policy around HIMOs includes an Interim Planning Policy Statement and wide ranging Article 4 areas, which aim to limit the density of HIMOs in Northampton, protecting the character of areas and communities and ensuring adequate provision of facilities, amenities and services, such as parking, healthcare and recycling.

Cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and planning, Cllr Tim Hadland, said: “Getting government backing of our policy is essential to ensuring our communities and service provision are protected from the overdevelopment of HIMOs in the town.

“With the support of our local MPs, we hope to establish how we can work together with other local councils and the Planning Inspectorate to make sure the right local, if not national, measures are being followed when considering applications of this nature.”