On 4 May 2016, Southampton City Council adopted the revised Houses in Multiple Occupation Supplementary Planning Document (SPD HMO). This provides supplementary guidance for all parties involved in the planning application process.
An Article 4 direction was made in March 2012 which removed permitted development rights to change a family home (C3) into a small HMO (C4).
The role of the SPD is to expand and provide more detail on how the council will assess planning applications for a conversion to a small HMO (3 to 6 unrelated people) and large HMO (7 or more people) under saved policy 'H4 – Houses in Multiple Occupation' of the Local Plan Review and policy 'CS16 – Housing Mix and Type' in the Core Strategy.
The SPD defines a tipping point where the concentration of HMOs begins to adversely impact on the character and balance of a local community. This threshold is set at 10% of HMOs in the housing stock. Applications will not be granted for new HMOs where the proportion of HMOs within a 40 metre radius was above 10% (unless exceptional circumstances apply).
The threshold limit aims to prevent new concentrations of HMOs and thus encourage a more even distribution across the city.
The revised HMO SPD also introduces a policy preventing the 'sandwiching' of residential properties between two HMOs and clarifies exceptional circumstances. The SPD includes worked examples on how to apply the approach and further information on licensing requirements and standards of facilities.
The draft revised HMO SPD was out for formal consultation from 1 March - 29 March 2016. Copies of the consultation documents including a Sustainability Appraisal Screening report and background evidence report are available below. The consultation statement below includes a summary of the consultation and the responses received and how these issues are addressed in the adopted plan.