Lib Dem councillor Jeremy Hilton has handed into the city cabinet, the petition he raised, calling for the protection of family homes in Kingsholm. There is much concern about the number of homes now being converted into Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO).
Currently, family homes converted into HMOs for six persons or fewer do not require planning permission, as it is permitted development.
Family homes are being converted into properties suitable for renting and this can lead to issues with noise, rubbish and parking.
There can also be problems with getting landlords to deal with incidents of anti-social behaviour.
Earlier this year Jeremy Hilton and Isabel Brazil tried to amend the council’s work plan to start on the survey work, which is required as precursor to getting an Article 4 Direction. But the Tories voted it down.
An Article 4 Direction would require all conversions to HMO’s to have planning permission.
In addressing the cabinet, Jeremy Hilton urged that the cabinet start work now not later. He pointed out that once the council has got an Article 4 Direction, it will still be another 12 months before it would come into force.
Jeremy Hilton said: “There are too many modest family homes in Kingsholm being converted into HMO’s, by absentee landlords. They are just trying to maximise their income. They don’t care about a balanced community. Already, Oxford Road, St Mark Street and Henry Road for example are being overrun by HMO conversions. We need proper regulation. The cabinet must now act on my petition.”
The online petition raised 130 signatures mostly from Kingsholm residents.
It has been backed by Lib Dem campaigner and resident Angela Conder, a signatory to the petition. She said: “I love living in Kingsholm, but I am worried that new HMOs are being established at far too fast a pace. Rightly, residents are worried about unregulated change that is taking place. We need an Article 4 Direction.”
The petition was received by the cabinet member for communities and neighbourhoods. She promised to respond to its request.
Lib Dem councillor Isabel Brazil concluded: “If St Paul’s in Cheltenham can have an Article 4 Direction, requiring planning permission for all new HMOs, then so can Kingsholm. We must protect our community from unregulated change.”