Southampton City Council: Pure Town Planning have recently secured retrospective permission for the conversion of a dwelling to a 5 bedroom HMO (house in multiple occupancy) in Southampton.

The change of use of a dwelling (Use Class C3) to small HMO (Use Class C4 – up to six residents) is normally permitted development, however Southampton City Council adopted a city-wide Article 4 Direction on 23rd March 2012 which removes this permitted development right and therefore planning permission is required for such changes of use.

In 2016, Southampton City Council adopted a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) on HMOs, which is used to assess and determine planning applications. It applies a consistent threshold throughout the city, introduces a new policy on ‘sandwiching’ and clarifies the “exceptional circumstances” approach. The SPD advises that planning permission will not be granted where the proportion of HMO dwellings will exceed 10% of the residential properties within a 40m radius  of the site.

As part of the application, we undertook a supporting HMO Assessment which demonstrated that within 40m of the application site there were 16 residential properties (excluding flats as per the SPD). Of the 16 properties none were currently in HMO use. Therefore should the application be approved, the percentage of HMO use would become 6.25%.

Upon consideration of the application, the case officer agreed with our assessment and the application was approved within the statutory target date.

If you are exploring the possibilities of creating a new HMO development and seek assistance in steering your scheme through the planning process, then why not contact Pure Town Planning on 01202 585524, or info@puretownplanning.co.uk, for a free and confidential planning consultation.

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