Changes to planning rules for HMOs adopted in Bath

Updated planning rules designed to avoid high concentrations of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) have been adopted by Bath & North East Somerset Council.

The changes include simplifying the tests the Council uses to assess applications for new HMOs, with applicants not permitted where it would result in any residential property being sandwiched between two HMOs or where the application tips the concentration of HMO properties within a 100-mile radius to over 10%.

HMOs are classed as properties with three or more people or two or more families living together in a residence.

The changes were approved by Cllr Tim Ball, Cabinet Member for Planning and Licensing, in a single member decision.

Cllr Ball said: ‘HMOs have an important role to play in the local housing offer, providing accommodation for a wide range of people from young professionals to students, immigrants, asylum seekers, those on housing benefit and contract workers. However, over recent years we have seen HMOs become concentrated in certain areas. These changes will ensure our communities remain sustainable with a wide variety and balance of accommodation.’

The Council revised its HMO Supplementary Planning Document following a consultation with stakeholders including local residents, resident associations, estate agents, Bath Student Community Partnership and Bath Spa University.

The revised document also includes additional guidance to support updated policies in the Local Plan Partial Update, which was recently submitted for examination.

Once the Plan is updated, new policies will include a requirement for all new HOMs to achieve an Energy Performance Certificate rating of C or above and provide a good standard of accommodation in relation to room sizes, noise reduction measures and more.

In related news, Sheffield City Council’s plans for council housing over the next five years will focus on building more houses, maintaining and improving tenants’ homes and improving energy efficiency.

Photo by Ákos Nemes


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