Preston HMOs: These are the parts of the city where permission will be required to create multi-occupancy houses

Property owners in two areas of Preston will have to seek express permission to convert them into homes to be used by more than one family or individual.

Wednesday, 30th March 2022, 11:24 am
Updated Wednesday, 30th March 2022, 12:08 pm

National planning rules governing so-called “houses of multiple occupation” (HMOs) mean that local planning approval is not usually required to turn an ordinary domestic dwelling into one that accommodates two or more households sharing key amenities like a kitchen and bathroom.

However, local authorities are allowed to specify certain parts of their parch where such changes could have an adverse impact on those living nearby – and so still require formal permission to be granted before any conversions can take place.

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Part of Powis Road in Ashton will be subject to new rules about the creation of houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) [image: Google]

Preston City Council’s cabinet has now opted to add two locations to the three where it already demands that HMOs go through the usual planning application process.

Planning permission will now be required for HMOs before they can be created in an area south of Winckley Square and another in part of Ashton. That is already the case across seven wards in the Frenchwood, Broadway and Maudlands areas.

Known as an “article 4 direction”, the rule change does not ban HMOs, but it does allow the council to monitor the numbers of such properties that are springing up and impose conditions to mitigate their effects – such as by requiring dedicated waste storage facilities or controls to deal with parking issues.

The areas where HMOs are created are usually made up of narrow, terrace streets where parking is scarce and space for holding refuse within the boundaries of properties is limited – problems that would be exacerbated by a significant increase in the number of occupants within a property.

HMOs are usually found in terrace streets where space for parking and bin storage is at a premium. Chaddock Street is part of an area south of Winckley Square where HMOs will be subject to planning permission and conditions to reduce their impact on surrounding properties

Cabinet member for planning and regulation David Borrow welcomed the expansion of the tighter rules – but acknowledged their limitations.

“It doesn’t really give us power to say no [to HMOs] – if we turned them down and said we didn’t want any in [a particular] part of Preston, a planning inspector would overturn it.

“It does enable us to regulate various issues, but I have had to tell [fellow councillors] that it is not a magic wand that will solve all of their problems with HMOs – it gives us a bit of regulatory power, that’s all.

“We also get a better record of where HMOs are if they have to apply for planning permission in these areas. Basically, it’s as much as we can do given the powers that we have got,” Cllr Borrow added.

The new article 4 areas were suggested during a consultation in 2020 into how well the requirement was working in those parts of the city where it already applied, having been introduced exactly a decade ago.

However, no responses were received to a fresh consultation carried out at the turn of the year about the expansion of the controls to the Winckley Square and Ashton areas.

In the Preston wards where permission for HMOs has been required since 2012, 18 applications have been received and 16 approved, with the other two being withdrawn.

HMOs come in various forms and fulfil a variety of needs – by providing accommodation for the vulnerable who have no other housing options, students and also professionals looking to share an upmarket property.

Permitted development for HMOs applies only up to a maximum of five occupants, Above that number, permission is required irrespective of the location of the property – both within Preston and nationwide.

National legislation also requires all HMOs with five occupants or more to be registered with their local authority through the Mandatory Licensed HMO Register.

PLACES WHERE PERMISSION IS REQUIRED FOR HMOs in PRESTON

NEW

South of Winckley Square (view map) – an area bound by Ribblesdale Place in the south, Winckley Square in the west, Cross Street in the north and Glover Street in the east.

Ashton (view map) – sections of Powis Road and Egerton Road.

EXISTING

Broadgate (view map) – an area running from Talbot Road in the north to Connaught Road in the South and Taylor Street in the west to Cliff Street in the east.

Frenchwood (view map) – an area running from Ashworth Street in the north to Southern Parade in the south and from Great Avenham Street in the west to Swill Brook Lane in the east.

Maudlands (view map) – a wide area running from Blundell Road in the north to Spa Road in the south and Newton Road in the west to Castleton Road in the east.

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