By Kiara Davies
The City of Durham Parish Council has backed proposals by Durham County Council to require a change from a family home to an HMO (Houses in Multiple Occupation) to have planning permission in the Mount Oswald, Carville, and Belmont in Durham City.
In a report by its planning consultant, the Parish Council concludes that the latest council tax data in particular provides justification for the Article 4 Direction – in which planning permission would be required for a conversion into an HMO – at Mount Oswald.
The report goes on to recommend that a trigger point should be established by the County Council which means if more than 10% of the total residential within a postcode area are exempt from council tax charges as a result, an Article 4 Direction should be put in those areas. The proposal is an attempt to control the level of student housing in Durham, as students are exempted from paying council tax.
As part of this monitoring, the Parish Council also argues that the County Council should also monitor information such as crime statistics and other data which highlights issues around nuisance. Last year alone, the Parish Council was successful at getting almost 20 new applications for HMOs in the existing Article 4 Area quashed.
Durham County Council already has two Article 4 Directions for HMOs which cover most of Durham City (in place from 17 September 2016) and Newton Hall, Framwellgate Moor and Pity Me (in place from 13 May 2017). The proposed Article 4 Directions areas, if agreed, would serve to enlarge the Article 4 Direction area in Durham City.
Image: Mark Norton