The Interim Director for Economic and Housing Growth submitted a definition and reviseddraft Policy for Houses in MultipleOccupation as requested at the previous meeting.
The draft included the recommended standards from guidance produced by the Housing Team.
The Principal Planning Officer indicated that the published guidance also includes minimum standards set by the Housing Act, which are also cited as being reasonable. Under national policy, the size, type and tenure of housing needed for different groups should be informed by local needs assessment when planning for the future supply of homes (NPPF para 60-61 refers). Previous Strategic Housing Market Assessments are silent about HMOs and it is not yet clear if this will be addressed through the pending assessment. Research showed that other Councils set bedroom sizes through supplementary guidance, rather than policy. If members were minded to recommend that the standards are included in an Interim Policy and the Local Plan, legal advice should be sought from Counsel on the content before making recommendations to Cabinet.
Colleagues from the Housing Team informed that the recommended room sizes were generated using the Metric Handbook.
Members discussed the implications with the housing and planning officers and concluded that preferred standards and the need for a wash basin in each room should be minimum requirements in the emerging policy in order to gain full weight in the decision making process.
It was confirmed that student accommodation would be covered by the HMO policy.
Thought was given to the effect on existing properties becoming HMOs under permitted development rights and if this be controlled under Article 4 powers. The importance of aligning the policy and guidance used by the Licensing and Planning departments is to be given further consideration by officers.
Resolved – that the planning and housing officers should continue work to finalise the policy and guidance, that counsel’s advice be sought and the results be circulated.
Emerging Policies for other Housing Development
Membersdiscussed thedraft Policiesin respectof; HousingRequirement, Criteria for Residential Development, Affordable HousingRequirements, Accessible Housing requirements, Backland Development, HouseExtensions, Self-contained Flats, Non-Residential Usesin Primarily Residential Areas, Policy CS22G – Child Minders Workingfrom Home, Criteria for Specialist Housing and Gypsies andTravellers.
Further to questions from Members in respect of the future requirement for affordable housing, the Principle Planning Officer advised that thelatest viabilityassessment wasscheduled tobe reportedto Cabinetin November2019 and showed a map of where zones could be set to secure funding and provision based on current market evidence.
Members were informed that the Government hadset optional standards which could be used, if justified in local policy for internal space in new dwelling, accessible homes including wheelchair housing andto ensureall developmentwould beadaptable.
The number dwellings in the backland policy was highlighted for further consideration, alongside the type of vehicular access that would needed with specifications for protecting residential amenity.
Issuesin respect of parking standards were taken into account through a separate policy covering all type of development. For housing this would be linked to thenumber ofbedrooms perdwelling.
Discussion took place regarding non-residential activities taking placein residential areas, more specifically delivery vehicles causing potentialnoise disturbance. Members considered the impact on neighbours of childminders working from home.
The Principle Planning Officer reported that the criteria for specialist housing would cover accommodation for people in need of careincluding nursing homes, sheltered,supported orextra carehousing forpeople whomay beunable tolive independently in ordinary housing.
The Chair made reference to anemerging policyin respectof Gypsiesand Travellersand thatthis wouldbe revisited.
Resolved – That the working draft policy for Houses in Multiple Occupation be noted and given further consideration by officers.