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New Planning Rules For HMO's Proposed

New Planning Rules For HMO's Proposed

When we last reported on local planning decisions in June (http://pdpla.com/pdpla-news/news-articles/item/337-portsmouth-planning-policy-encourages-unplanned-behaviours) we highlighted the fact that current planning rules encouraged increased density in existing HMO"s due to the lack of opportunity to provide this much needed accommodation anywhere else. PCC have acted swiftly to change the rules and stop such developments. Unfortunately, if some of the proposed changes were applied to current HMO"s we believe that many HMO"s in the city would no longer be legal.

Since our last report on planning meetings in the city, there have been 15 planning applications for conversions to HMO"s of which, 10 would result in 'sui generis" properties (large HMO"s with 7 or more occupants).  Obviously, PCC don"t want this workload in the planning process and it is clear that the 'I hate HMO"s" mentality of many residents and councillors has become a mantra for some on the committee, yet under current rules they have been powerless to object.

At a meeting this week, PCC agreed to put changes to their HMO policy out for consultation.  The consultation will start next month, after the Local Plan consultation ends and we presume that a number of members will be keen for us to represent them in challenging this change.  Full details of the changes here.

Key changes proposed:

  • A change from C4 to Sui Generis will require planning permission and councillors believe the changes will give them the ability to reject such applications on the grounds of 'over intensive use", avoiding having their decisions overturned on appeal as happened 5 times in one month earlier this year. (http://pdpla.com/pdpla-news/news-articles/item/315-local-business-5-portsmouth-planning-0)
  • A C3/C4 approval will now only last for 10 years, at the end of which usage will revert to either C3 or C4 in line with usage at that time
  • Minimum space standards are introduced (single bedrooms must be at least 7.5sq m with a minimum width of 2.15m)
  • Amenity space is now prescribed (for example a kitchen for 3-5 persons needs to be at least 7 sq m) and a living room 11 sq m
  • The way the HMO density is calculated is proposed to be tightened up. It will still be 10% density within 50m but will now count all properties whose boundary (as opposed to curtilage) fall within that circle

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