Thursday, 26 September 2013

Call for review of council's HMO policies

I have called on the City Council to consider a tightening up of planning and licensing limits for Houses in Multiple Occupation to curtail any further growth in the number HMOs in residential areas of Dundee.    

There are growing concerns from residents in parts of the West End Ward about the proliferation of HMOs and I have cited the granting of an HMO licence in an award-winning residential block in the West End as an example of a poor licensing decision, which highlights the need to consider operating a lower HMO limit outwith immediate higher education campus areas.

The current planning policy adopted by the City Council is :

“POLICY HMO2: AVOIDING EXCESSIVE CONCENTRATION OF HMOS  :   Within the Central Dundee Housing Investment Focus Area as identified in the Dundee Local Plan Review 2005, planning applications for HMOs that would result in the proportion of licensed HMOs in any Census Output Area exceeding 12.5% of the total residential stock will not be supported unless there are clear material considerations which would justify permission being granted. Purpose built HMO accommodation will be excluded from this assessment. This policy will not apply to the area within the city centre as defined in the Local Plan.”

A similar 12.5% limit applies for HMO licence applications and the number of new HMO licence approvals in residential areas has to be reduced.   There is clear public support for a lower number of Houses in Multiple Occupancy in residential areas.    

There needs to be a review of the current policies for both licensing and planning purposes and the City Council does have to listen to public concern on this important issue.