A Failsworth Councillor is calling for residents to respond to Oldham Council’s Local Plan consultation setting out their concerns about the number of Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in the area.
Oldham Council has launched their ‘issues and options’ consultation ahead of devising a new Local Plan for the Borough. The Local Plan will set out where development can take place in Oldham over the next 15 years and specify the types of development that is desired for each site.
The Local Plan also provides an opportunity for Councils to introduce an ‘Article 4 Direction’ which could extend the need to obtain planning permission to a range of developments which don’t currently require it. Applications which don’t require planning permission have ‘permitted development’ rights and it is these rights that an Article 4 direction would withdraw. HMOs housing six people or fewer fall into this category and Failsworth Councillor Pete Davis argues that this ‘relaxed’ approach has led to a ‘proliferation’ of shared accommodation in the town which is ‘damaging to the fabric of the community’.
Pete said, “HMOs have a role in providing the housing mix that communities need but the number of family homes we are seeing converted to them in Failsworth is getting out of hand.
“We already have a shortage of large family homes, that’s why we have been under pressure to release areas of green belt for development. Allowing the few large houses we have to be converted in to HMOs makes that situation even worse and it shouldn’t be so easy to turn a family house in to a shared home.”
The Councillor’s call comes after news that an application has been submitted to convert a property at 347 Oldham Road in Failsworth in to an 8-bedroom shared house. The house has no off-road parking and has met with fierce objections from local residents.
Pete continued, “The proliferation of these shared houses, particularly along the Oldham Road corridor through Failsworth is damaging to the fabric of the community. It creates a transient population and causes mayhem with parking. We’ve already had major problems where homes have become HMOs on nearby Pole Lane. It could be chaos if all the residents of this latest proposed HMO have cars compared to a family who would likely only have had one or two if they lived here.
“I will be responding to the issues and options consultation calling for the Council to include an Article 4 Direction in the new Local Plan so that all HMOs, regardless of size, require planning permission. I would urge everybody reading this to respond and call for this too.”
Oldham Council’s consultation on their new local plan launched on 5th July and runs until 29th August. You can respond via the consultation portal on Oldham Council’s website, send in comments via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Strategic Planning and Information, Economy Skills and Neighbourhoods, Room 310, Level 3, Civic Centre, West Street, Oldham, OL1 1UH.