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Landlords to face tight rules on student homes

Worcester Editorial 29th Jan, 2014 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

A LIMIT on the amount of student homes allowed in the city is set to come into force in the summer.

Members of Worcester City Council’s planning committee backed proposals to introduce tougher rules on landlords at a meeting on Thursday (January 23).

The move will mean a property could only be converted into a house of multiple occupancy (HMO) if no more than ten per cent of homes within a 100 metre radius have already been turned into students flats.

A six-week consultation will take place between February and March to seek people’s views on the draft policy, which also states that no more than two homes next door to each other can be converted into HMOs.

The new planning rules are expected to be introduced from July 1 and Coun Geoff Williams believes the move will give the city council greater control over the amount of student homes being created.

“I don’t want people to go away with the idea that this policy is about saying no,” he said. “We are saying if you meet the guidelines then you have got a reasonable expectation of achieving planning permission and I think that it is an really important point to make. I think it is important that we get HMOs under planning control.”

Coun Joy Squires, councillor for the Arboretum, added: “It is very welcome and long overdue as it has been something we have been talking about for many years.

“If these rules had been put in place sooner then we would not have had quite as many problems. I think it will be very beneficial for my ward and I am sure that will be the same for other wards.”

Concerns were raised by several councillors over the city’s parking problems, which Coun Alan Amos believes has been caused by HMOs.

“It bothers me that you could have up to 14 people with only two car parking spaces,” he said. “It is ridiculous and we will be consulting on a policy which is grossly inadequate and not relevant to the current times.”

After the meeting a spokeswoman from the University of Worcester said: “We welcome the council’s initiative to manage the impact of HMOs on the local community.

“The growth of the university has had a very positive impact on the city of Worcester and the university has a number of initiatives in place to ensure that students continue to live harmoniously alongside local residents.”

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