Fears over the loss of communities and a rise in antisocial behaviour and noise complaints have led a council to propose tighter restrictions on houses in multiple occupation (HMO) - as we reveal the streets with the most HMOs in the area.
South Gloucestershire Council is set to introduce law which will mean landlords in Filton and in Stoke Park and Cheswick will need to apply for planning permission to convert properties into HMOs, no matter the size.
Currently landlords do not need consent for shared homes with up to six bedrooms. This has proved a loophole in newly-set planning rules with limits on concentrations of HMOs, as not every shared home is registered.
The new restrictions follow a public consultation that illustrated concern over the proliferation of HMOs.
The main concerns were worries about neighbourhoods becoming overrun with shared homes and the loss of communities, along with antisocial behaviour, parking, litter and noise complaints.
Labour Councillor Adam Monk - whose Filton ward has become a battleground against new bedsits and who has spoken at planning committee on behalf of neighbours against several applications - said he was pleased with the proposed new restrictions, also known as Article 4 framework.
He said: “During my time as a councillor I’ve spoken to countless residents who are really concerned about the spread of HMOs and things like parking, waste disposal and the living conditions inside them.
“We need some HMOs, but they shouldn’t negatively affect the area, and need to be good quality inside.
“From January 2021 to July this year I chaired a task and finish group looking at what can be done to regulate HMOs more effectively, and we recommended the council adopts the Article 4 framework – something Bristol City Council has been using for a long time now.”
So, with Filton becoming inundated, which streets have the highest number of registered HMOs in the latest issue of data by South Gloucestershire Council for April.
Top of the list, as Councillor Monk alluded, was Filton Avenue with 40, followed by Wright Way in Stoke Gifford with 24.
Third came Station Road, also in Filton, with 18, Long Down Avenue in Stoke Gifford with 17, Jekyll Close in Stoke Gifford again with 16, and Wood Mead in Stoke Gifford with 14.
Clearly, Stoke Gifford is seeing a huge amount of HMOs per area, and seventh on the list was Slade Baker Way in Stoke Gifford with 13, followed by Gloucester Road North in Filton with 11.
Finally, all with 10, eighth, ninth and tenth on the list were High Street in Kingswood, Lancelot Road in Stoke Gifford and Mortimer Road in Filton.
Filton ward councillor Chris Wood said: “I am delighted that Filton residents have backed our plans and look forward to seeing them come into effect soon.
“We have had to put up with more and more successful applications that have a negative impact in our neighbourhoods for far too long and this is another string in the council’s bow which will help to stem the tide.”
Cabinet member for regeneration, environment and strategic infrastructure Councillor Steve Reade, who is taking the decision, said: “It is fantastic to see residents of Filton and Stoke Park and Cheswick are so supportive of our plans to introduce Article 4 directions which will form a strong part of our ability in the new Local Plan to protect communities from being overrun by HMOs.”