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Plans to change HMO planning guidance progress

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Residents will soon be able to comment on proposed changes to borough-wide planning guidance on the development of houses of multiple occupation.

At a full council meeting last year a motion was put forward asking members to consider a change to when planning permission is required for small houses of multiple occupation (HMO).

Currently, people can apply to change the use of a property to a small house of multiple occupation (with between three and six occupiers) under permitted development rights, while larger HMOs have to go through the full planning process.

By removing the permitted development rights, all applications for a HMO, of any size, would be governed by the same rules.

Members voted in favour of the motion and the council has since been gathering evidence to support the move to change planning requirements.

An update will go to a meeting of the cabinet later this week, where members will be asked to support the progress made and approve the proposed changes to be publicised to allow the public to comment during a six-week period.

Comments will then be fed back to cabinet and members will be asked to make a decision on whether the planning requirements can change.

The council can make these changes under article 4 of the National Planning Policy Framework but it needs to go through the consultation period with the public beforehand. 

The new rules would not come into force for 12 months if then given cabinet approval. This acts as a grace period to ensure developers of new HMOs are aware of the changes to planning guidance

If the changes were approved, this would only act as a temporary solution as there are plans to introduce a new policy on HMOs within the Black Country Plan when it is adopted in 2024.

Councillor Simon Phipps, cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said:

We need to make sure that new homes in Dudley Borough meet a certain standard of quality for the good of the people who live in them and other residents in the local area. It's clear from the evidence gathered that the unchecked creation of small HMOs using permitted development rights undermines our ability to properly plan developments in our neighbourhoods.
Our plan will create consistency in the planning system so all HMOs must go through the scrutiny of a planning application before they are created. But we won't just stop at this measure, because the emerging Black Country Plan will also introduce new policies to make sure new homes are better quality and do not detract from the wider local area.
I would encourage the public to comment on these proposals so their feedback can be considered as part of the legally mandated consultation process.

Details on how to comment on proposals will be released soon.

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