Councillors slam HMO decision-making

Will Sandry has criticised a Council planning decision which will see yet another HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) conversion in Oldfield, despite the controls introduced by the Lib Dems and despite the already high concentration of HMOs in the area. Furthermore, a request by Councillor Sandry for the decision to be debated and decided at a public meeting was refused, despite the application attracting over 15 public objections.

Councillor Sandry, who is the Lib Dem spokesperson on Homes and Planning, said:
“I am furious that, despite their fine words about ‘better managing the growth of HMOs’ across the city, the Conservatives are still happy to let applications through without any public consideration.”

“The Lib Dems introduced controls on HMOs and additional licensing requirements in 2013. This application just scraped through the relevant tests due to a quirk of local geography – it is on the edge of an area with a completely different character – however the decision should have been taken by the planning committee, due to the public interest.”

Councillor Shaun Stephenson-McGall added:
“The Conservatives are letting Bath residents down by failing to keep the Council’s HMO policy up to date. A review was announced in March of this year but is only now starting to get going. The current rules are being outpaced and are in dire need of strengthening and clarification. Local residents want the Council to protect neighbourhood characteristics and remaining family homes.”

Three years ago an ‘Article 4 direction’ was introduced which means in certain areas planning permission is required to convert a family home in to one occupied by multiple people who are not a family. The rules come with a two stage test relating to the percentage of HMOs within a 50 metre and 100 metre radius of the property in question. In this particular case the Stage 1 test was failed, the Stage 2 test was only passed as a result of ‘dilution’ by adjacent properties in streets without the same Neighbourhood characteristics as the site (and most of the rest of the northern part of Oldfield Ward).

6 thoughts on “Councillors slam HMO decision-making

  1. Margaret Ramsey says:

    Not surprised that this council are making up the rules as they go along. After all the government are doing it all the time.

  2. Peter Clinick says:

    On a national level this is why the referendum went the way it did.People fed up with being talked at at by MP’s whilst they refuse to listen.
    This has been why many do not bother voting allowing the wrong type of people to become an MP .
    To some extent this is a case of the BA1 (Tory) councillors realising that one way they can protect their areas is by sacrificing other areas where they have no support.Dirty tricks is a Tory speciality.
    The Lib Dems should never return to coalition ever again,especially with the ‘nasty party’.

  3. Joanna Bowden says:

    The council are not giving our community due consideration. I live next to two well managed HMOs and have a good relationship with the residents and landlord. However, I see serious landlord negligence and poor community consideration by the transient population all the time. This as to be managed by the council and our voices have to be heard.

  4. Stu Bean says:

    The Council (whichever political party is in charge) care nothing whatsoever about people that were born and bred in our City. As long as they bend over backwards for the universities it’s demise will go on. So as a manifesto commitment, which one of you pledge not only to curb the conversion of family homes into HMO, but also put an end to the two universities in Bath continuely increasing their establishments?

  5. Sam Lindberg says:

    When building and converting to hmo, there needs to be more attention to the impact on local resources and environment. At present there appears to be little or none.

  6. J Diver says:

    Planners really seem to do as they please when it suits them. They are not listening to the local residents with there real concerns. The area is crammed with cars parked everywhere on every corner and juction and although students are discouraged from bringing them it is blatant that many do. Trying to cross the road with small children is so difficult now as there isn’t a safe place to do so.

    In the councils own view the area is already saturated with HMOs. How this proposal is even considered is absolutely staggering. It is simply a money making business and does nothing to benefit the already dense population and community but line the pockets of property developers.. Surely this goes against Article 4?

    The universities need to take responsibility to house students. There used to be a lot more halls of residence on campus at University of Bath. Some of these (such as Wessex House) have been converted to office use etc. Both universities have plans to increase their numbers and buildings on campus without accommodating for any more halls of residence.

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