Houses in Multiple Occupation consultation Image: By fottoo AdobeStock_77489198

Consultation aims to encourage balanced communities

Bedford Borough Council is holding a consultation on planning guidance setting out how ‘houses in multiple occupation’ (HMOs) or ‘shared houses’ can develop in the Borough.

The Council said that HMOs are an important part of the housing mix and can provide much-needed, low-cost accommodation.

The Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) under consultation aims to encourage balanced communities by providing guidance on applications to convert, use or develop properties as HMOs.

It sets out four core principles which any HMO development must meet:

  1. Maintaining Balanced, Inclusive and Mixed Communities’ and introduces a threshold for HMOs in an area. The proposal is a limit of no more than 30% of the total number of properties in a 100m radius of the application property
  2. Setting out standards for HMO properties in ‘Creating a Healthy Living Environment’; ensuring that they provide good quality accommodation for residents
  3. Ensuring Safe Access and Adequate Parking’; introducing specific cycle and car parking requirements
  4. Creating Well-Designed Places’, by setting out measures to ensure that there are no harmful visual impacts from HMO development

Cllr Henry Vann, portfolio holder for Planning said:

“Shared houses – HMOs – are a key part of the mix of accommodation on offer in Bedford Borough, particularly in the urban areas and immediate surroundings.

“It is important that we do everything we can to ensure that they are providing good quality housing for residents and are playing their part in creating balanced communities in our towns. Please do get in touch and have your say.”

Residents can view the documents at www.bedford.gov.uk/hmoconsultation and respond to the consultation by email tohmospd@bedford.gov.uk.

Also, residents can write to HMO SPD Consultation, Planning Services, Bedford Borough Council, Borough Hall, Cauldwell Street, Bedford, MK42 9AP. The consultation will close on Tuesday 7th July.

If you wish to discuss the content of the SPD the Council will be hosting a dedicated phone line on Thursday 25 June from 9.30am to 8pm.

Please call 01234 718559 during those times and if you are unable to speak to someone immediately please leave a message and you will be contacted.

If you are unable to use online facilities and would like to see a paper copy of the document please call 01234 267422 to make an appointment at the Council’s Customer Service.

Please only visit the Council in person if you really can’t access a computer from your home. Strict social distancing measures are in place at the Customer Services Centre.

The Council will provide a paper copy of the document by post if required and an individual is unable to view/print the document online; call 01234 718559 to find out more.