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Interim Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Developer Advice Note

Published: 19/10/2018

Flintshire’s Cabinet will be asked to approve the content of the Draft Interim HMO Developer Advice Note and agree for it to be published for public consultation when it meets later this month.

Following changes made to the Permitted Development Order by Welsh Government which said that change from a private residential property to an HMO needed planning consent, the Planning Committee has received and dealt with an increasing number of such applications.

While HMOs serve to meet housing needs in Flintshire particularly for affordable, short term single person accommodation, Planning Committee Members have found it increasingly difficult to positively consider such applications in the absence of specific policy guidance in the adopted Unitary Development Plan. They have particularly struggled to be confident that the living conditions of future residents and neighbours is properly assessed, as well as the impacts HMO development (particularly multiple HMOs in one area) can have on the character of an area.

Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Public Protection, Councillor Chris Bithell, said:

“Because of these issue and as an interim measure, an HMO Developer Advice Note has been produced to clarify for developers the standards and requirements expected in the submission of applications for HMOs, as well as guidance on key areas such as parking requirements, the impact on the living conditions of neighbours, and controls relating to the concentration of HMOs in an area.

“To carry weight as a material planning consideration when used to assess applications for HMOs, the Developer Advice note needs to be approved and released for public consultation prior to being adopted.”

The Advice Note is made up of three main parts:

1.     Standards relating to room space, general amenity, provision of facilities, and parking relating to the development of a HMO and the living conditions relating to its future occupants;

2.     Additional standards and requirements to those in Part 1, relating to the development of stand-alone flats or mixed flat and bedsit accommodation;

3.     Specific requirements relating to the consideration of the living conditions of neighbouring non-HMO properties, including impacts on the character of an area.

The next steps will be to make the Advice Note available for consultation in order to then consider any responses, amend as appropriate, if required, and formally adopt as a material planning consideration alongside the UDP.