Consultation has opened today (September 14) on the proposed criteria that would be used to decide planning applications for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).
The Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) sets out criteria that applications would be considered against, including how many HMOs would be allowed in a particular area, what the radius would be for assessing the impact of HMO development and whether there should be any exceptions.
Interested people, groups or organisations can view the document at www.lincoln.gov.uk/hmospd, where they can also take the online consultation. Paper copies are available at City Hall.
The consultation will run until October 16, after which responses will be analysed and a final document put before Executive in December, when the decision regarding whether to implement the Article 4 direction will be made.
An earlier consultation in March asked people whether they were in favour of or objected to an Article 4 direction, but this further consultation gives people the chance to shape the criteria that would be used to determine planning applications for HMOs should an Article 4 be introduced.
John Latham, Director of Development and Environmental Services at the city council, said: “Members agreed to pursue the implementation of an Article 4 direction in December last year, following a petition from the West End community and a subsequent consultation exploring the options to better manage the development of HMOs in Lincoln and the impact they have on the local area.
“If the direction is agreed, the Supplementary Planning Document would contain the criteria that would be used to decide applications to convert houses into HMOs and, as such, would be an essential part of implementing the Article 4 direction.
“Officers have worked hard to produce a fair and comprehensive SPD, guided by planning law and best practice gleaned from other authorities. We would urge everyone to take this opportunity to help shape the final document.
“We are inviting general comments as well as asking specific questions and we would encourage anyone with an interest to get involved as we try to establish whether there is a robust case to implement this Article 4 in Lincoln.”
The direction would mean home owners and property developers would need planning permission to convert a house into an HMO, giving the council more control over the amount and location of such properties. Larger HMOs already require permission.
If agreed, the direction would come into force on March 1, 2016.
Landlords and property owners are being asked to declare existing HMOs before a decision is made on whether to confirm the Article 4 direction to improve the council’s knowledge of these properties in the city. This can be done at www.lincoln.gov.uk/hmo