Residents fear flood of new student houses
In April the previous Labour government introduced legislation that required planning permission for changes in occupation of properties from family homes to small HMOs (no more than six tenants) such as shared student houses.
The new coalition government intends to pursue a similar course of action, allowing local authorities to demand planning permission in areas they consider to have too heavy a concentration of HMOs.
However, from 1st October, 2010 there will be a 12-month transition period before the new government’s rules take effect – which means 12 months during which property owners will be free to convert homes into HMOs without any planning permission.
“It will be 12 months before we get back again the controls that were given us in April,” Councillor Ron Armstrong told angry residents attending tonight’s North Jesmond Ward Committee meeting. “We are very unhappy, but it has been imposed upon us.”
Alan Grant of Jesmond Residents Association told the meeting that he was aware of other city councils which were considering seeking a judicial review of the legislative changes, but Councillor Armstrong said he was unaware of any grounds on which a review could be sought. He said plans to ease pressure on Jesmond by building accommodation for 6,000 students in the city centre were on target.