Lincoln residents invited to give views on council’s shared homes legislation

A public consultation is underway on City of Lincoln Council’s proposed criteria to decide on planning applications for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).

As previously reported, a four-week consultation was held in March after the council approved plans in December 2014 to pursue the implementation of Article 4.

Of those who took part in the consultation, 133 were in favour of the Article 4 direction, with 130 against the legislation.

Article 4 would mean homeowners and property developers would need planning permission to convert a house into an HMO, giving the council more control over the amount and location of such properties.

Approximately 2,000 of the city’s 46,000 properties are HMOs.

The council’s Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) sets out how many HMOs would be allowed in a particular area, what the radius would be for assessing the impact of HMO development and whether there should be any exceptions.

Interested people, groups or organisations can complete the online consultation, with paper copies also available at City Hall.

The consultation will run until October 16, after which responses will be analysed and a final document put before the Executive in December, when the decision of whether to implement Article 4 will be made.

If agreed, the direction would come into force on March 1, 2016.

Petitions defending and rejecting the idea of Article 4 direction have also been submitted to the council.

Landlords and property owners are being asked to declare existing HMOs to improve the council’s knowledge of these properties before a final decision is made.

This can be done on the city council’s website.

John Latham, Director of Development and Environmental Services at the city council, said: “Members agreed to pursue the implementation of an Article 4 direction in December last year, following a petition from the West End community and a subsequent consultation exploring the options to better manage the development of HMOs in Lincoln and the impact they have on the local area.

“If the direction is agreed, the Supplementary Planning Document would contain the criteria that would be used to decide applications to convert houses into HMOs and, as such, would be an essential part of implementing the Article 4 direction.

“Officers have worked hard to produce a fair and comprehensive SPD, guided by planning law and best practice gleaned from other authorities. We would urge everyone to take this opportunity to help shape the final document.

“We are inviting general comments as well as asking specific questions and we would encourage anyone with an interest to get involved as we try to establish whether there is a robust case to implement this Article 4 in Lincoln.”

For more information on the pros and cons of Article 4, read our column from property expert Kate Faulkner.