Agenda item

Review of the Article 4 Direction and Houses in Multiple Occupation Supplementary Planning Document

To consider the report of the Director of City Development.





RESOLVED that the draft revised Article 4 Direction (including the Article 4 area plan) attached at Appendix A of the report be approved and the draft revised HMO Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) attached at Appendix B of the report be approved for public consultation.


Reason for Decision: As set out in the report.




The Executive received the report which set out the progress that had been made on reviewing the Article 4 Direction that restricted permitted development rights from dwellings (Use Class C3 of the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended)) to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) (Use Class C4), together with the related HMO Supplementary Planning Document (SPD).


The Council’s Article 4 Direction had been in place since 2010 which restricted Permitted Development rights for homes converting to HMO’s and the areas covered by the Article 4 Direction had last been reviewed in 2014. The Council had also adopted a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) in relation to HMOs which set out how planning applications for the conversion of homes to HMOs within the Article 4 area would be determined.


Members noted that a consultant had been recruited to review the Article 4 Direction and SPD, and had produced a report on future options which was outlined in Appendix C of the report. Members also noted that that Option 5 had been discounted and Option 2 was the preferred option for the future of the Direction.


The report sought approval to undertake a consultation on proposals to amend the Article 4 Direction and HMO Supplementary Planning Document in line with the preferred choice for option 2. Consultation was proposed to take place between May and July 2023 and would include information about the alternative options.


Councillor D. Moore, as an opposition group leader, spoke on this item. She raised the following points:-


·       The proposed option highlighted a potential disadvantage, in that the relatively small expansion in the area could reduce the supply of student HMOS’ and impact on rent. She enquired on whether these potential impacts would be monitored.


·       The preferred option in the report suggested that it would help maintain a balance between student and non-student homes for various areas and manage the relevant impacts. However, neither the draft SPD, the Article 4 Direction or Policy C1 of the St. James’s Neighbourhood Plan had defined what the balance would be. Other Council’s had defined how balance would be assessed in respect of individual planning applications and this was an opportunity for the Council to remove any ambiguity by doing the same.


·       It was important to understand the impact that HMO’s would have on an area, especially when combined with purpose built student accommodation and future Co-Living accommodation.


·       City Centre Wards were being let down by the lack of joined up thinking between policies and clarity on these matters, which would continue to cause difficulty for the Planning Committee in determining planning applications.


During the discussion the following points were raised:-


·        the report was welcomed by Members and thanks were given to the Planning Officers and consultants for the work undertaken;

·        HMOs were a concern in the Pennsylvania Ward and an expansion of the Article 4 Direction would be welcomed by residents, who had pushed for this to be considered by the Council;

·        option 2 in the report would provide a good balance for communities;

·        the consultant’s report was welcomed and provided detailed information to support future decision making;

·        the St. James Ward had a large number of HMOs and the proposal would be welcomed by residents;

·        the proposal would provide a good balance for housing options, particularly in the housing crisis, to ensure there were enough homes for people in the city; and

·        thanks were made to the residents of Sylvan Road for an invitation to a Resident’s Association meeting in July 2022. A request for a review of the Article 4 Direction had been made, and since that time, work had been undertaken quickly and the report was a great response to residents.


The Leader highlighted that the recommendation in the report was seeking to commence a consultation. He requested Members engage with the consultation and put their points raised at this meeting into the consultation process. A report would be brought back to Members later in the year, after the consultation process.


The Portfolio Holder for City Development thanked the officers for the work undertaken and highlighted the importance of the report to residents. A budget to undertake the work had been sought and officers had worked hard to bring the matter forward whilst undertaking other areas of work. The public consultation would be held after the election in May and would follow the guidelines of the Council’s Consultation Charter.


RESOLVED that the draft revised Article 4 Direction (including the Article 4 area plan) attached at Appendix A of the report be approved and the draft revised HMO Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) attached at Appendix B of the report be approved for public consultation.


Supporting documents: