Blow for Filton HMO campaigners

The ‘Article 4’ regulations which would have affected new HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation) in Filton will not be introduced until January 2024 after South Glos Council decided they faced a ‘significant risk of liability for compensation’ under the current plans, which were due to begin on December 30 this year.

The new rules would have required developers to seek planning permission for the conversion of a home to a small (up to 6 bed) HMO. Currently such conversions can be done under ‘permitted development’ and this will now continue for at least another year.

This will be seen as a blow for campaigners who have said Filton has too many HMOs, leading to a change in the character of the town and bringing significant parking problems.

Developers say HMOs are needed to address the housing shortage.

Filton South Glos councillor Adam Monk said: “The situation with regards to the delay is Article 4 is disappointing and I recognise there is a fear that we could see in a further increase in HMOs.

“I would remind people that policies have been improved to control HMOs. I would encourage residents to continue to object and highlight that some applications have been stopped even at the appeal stage.”

In a statement, South Glos Council said: “(Regarding the) decision to defer bringing into force the non-immediate Article 4 Direction to remove permitted development rights for a change of use from a dwelling house (Use Class C3) to a House in Multiple Occupation (Use Class C4) within specifically defined areas of Filton and Stoke Park and Cheswick wards in accordance with the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015, we consider that there is a significant risk of liability for compensation from the decision made in August 2022 if we continued to confirm the A4D and bring it into force on 30 December 2022, as originally intended.

“Given our current budget pressures and need to protect taxpayers’ money this requires us to take appropriate action.

“We have therefore decided that the proposed Direction withdrawing permitted development rights requiring proposals to convert dwelling houses (C3) to a small Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) (C4) to apply for planning permission, within specifically defined areas of Filton and Stoke Park and Cheswick ward, will not be brought into force on 30 December 2022. A new decision will be taken to introduce the A4D to withdraw permitted development rights.

“This will be subject to a minimum of 21 days consultation for any representations to be made in accordance with Schedule 3 to the GPDO. Consultation (subject to confirmation) is proposed to commence on 9th January 2023. Accordingly, the Council intends to publish and serve notice that the direction will come into force 12 months after the Decision Notice is published in the prescribed manner, as set under paragraph 1 (1) to (5) of Schedule 3 to the GPDO.

“The effect of this, and subject to consultation starting on 9th January 2023, as set out in Schedule 3 to the GDPO, is that the implementation date for the Direction coming into force would be 10th January 2024, rather than the 30th December 2022.”