Sunday, 27 August 2017 07:21

Portsmouth Local Plan - 17,000 new homes, changes to HMO's & unrestricted student halls?

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Portsmouth Local Plan - 17,000 new homes, changes to HMO's & unrestricted student halls?

Portsmouth have started a consultation to update the local plan which is the basis upon which all of their detail strategies and plans are formed. So if the local plan states, just for example, that there will be no zoos in the city, then anyone wanting to open a zoo will find it almost impossible to do so. Zoos may be a banal example, but the plan does state how many new houses could be built, where and of what type. It will update current plans and strategies on HMO's and student halls - so if you are a student landlord particularly, you do need to respond or ask us to include your views in our response.  The consultation runs until late September, so do take the time to let us know your view please.


What is the Local Plan

Every city is legally required to have a Local Plan. Portsmouth last produced one in 2012 and plan to replace it with a new one in 2019.  The plan is the basis for all major developments over a period of around 15 years, so the new plan will outline developments proposed between now and 2034. The scope of the plan is significant, covering housing, transport, infrastructure, education and health needs, coastal defences and much else. Some areas like transport are covered by other plans but because of the timing, the Local Plan tends to define the scope and need which the separate plans then develop.

What is the Process

PCC have an objective to add 17K additional housing units during the period because this currently brings Housing Bonus. Their starting point is thus focussed on where they can add these dwellings and what will be required to support the ~40,000 additional people who will live in them.

They have drafted an ‘Issues and Options’ document which outlines what they believe are the main options and some choices that need to be taken. The consultation, which runs until 28th Sept., aims to collect inputs responding to the Issues and Options which will then be reviewed and consolidated into a proposed Local Plan which will be discussed in a 2nd round of consultation next year with a view to finalising early in 2019.

The ‘Issues and Options’ phase is important because after that, the process is focussed on narrowing options. Anything that is not on the table by the end of this 1st consultation is not likely to make it into the Local Plan.

Why is it Important for Landlords?

There are a number of reasons why we need to respond:

  • PCC state that “Currently, there are 4,230 licensed Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO's) in the city. Current planning policy seeks to avoid the concentration of HMOs to support mixed and balanced communities. The contribution of HMOs to providing accommodation is recognised, but this has to be balanced against the negative impacts of high concentrations of HMOs on local communities. Understanding more closely the role that HMOs play in the city's housing market will be important for the new Plan. We need to consider if the current approach is the right one.”
  • They also say “The provision of dedicated student accommodation within the city has seen a huge rise in recent years with over schemes totalling over 3,600 bedrooms either completed, under construction or with permission. Interest in this type of development shows no signs of declining with on-going planning applications and enquiries. The focus for this type of development is in the city centre. This development will have a number of implications for the city, including changes in patterns of movement across the city, the impact upon the city centre itself, and the impact upon the wider housing market in the city. The impacts upon the wider housing market and the city's overall housing target are explored in more detail in the Student housing and housing targets background paper. The Council has an adopted Supplementary Planning Document on student accommodation but the total impact of this new development will need to be considered further as the plan progresses.”

As a result, PCC are considering a number of options and in the areas of HMO’s and student accommodation, these options are:

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) Options:

  • HMO1a. Continue the approach of restricting houses in multiple occupation.
  • HMO1b. Remove restrictions to houses in multiple occupation to maximise accommodation in the city.
  • HMO1c. Increase restrictions on new HMOs in all or parts of the city.

Student Accommodation Option:

  • SU1a. Continue the current monitored but unrestricted approach to the quantity of student accommodation.

Which of the HMO options do you consider to be the correct one and why?

Are there alternative options for student accommodation or do you accept the proposed option?

Let us know your thoughts, please respond to and we urge you to also make your views known to the planning team by completing their online survey which you can find here:


Last modified on Tuesday, 05 September 2017 20:48

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