New HMO policy on the cards in Northampton

Published: Monday, 23 April 2018

Northampton Borough Council is set to update its houses in multiple occupation (HMO) policy as part of the Local Plan Part 2.

HMOs play an important role in providing rental accommodation for people including young professionals, key workers and students.

Planning law allows for properties to be converted into houses for multiple occupation for three to six unrelated people.

However concerns including those associated with the environment, parking and noise have led to the introduction of planning policies to manage the growth in their number and concentration.

Following a competitive tender process, in preparation for its policy update, the Council has appointed Loughborough University to carry out a study into HMOs across the borough.

As part of this, the consultants will hold a focus group meeting with key stakeholders and another with councillors to take place in late April and early May.

The purpose of these meetings is to obtain information and understand the views of people who have knowledge and experience of issues relating to this type of housing.

Cllr Tim Hadland, Cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and planning, said: “We have had a significant increase in the number of applications for HMOs, so it is entirely right that we review our policy to ensure it remains suitable.

“In most cases, these properties should be licensed but there remain many instances where they are not - something we are tackling through improved private sector housing enforcement.

“And we’ve also introduced Article 4 directions in parts of the town meaning planning permission is required to convert properties for shared use.

“These homes play a vital role in providing affordable housing options for many, and we need to do everything we can to ensure they make an appropriate contribution to the communities in which they are located.”

Once the study is complete and the new policy drafted, the council will open the results up for consultation as part of the Local Plan Part 2 in early 2019 but is happy to take comments ahead of this at [email protected] or Planning Policy, The Guildhall, St Giles Square, Northampton NN1 1DE.