Burnley Council set to tighten rules around HMOs

Burnley Council has considered the findings of a six-week public consultation and is set to increase planning controls over the conversion of properties into houses of multiple occupation (HMO).
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The council’s executive is recommended to agree the removal of what are known as permitted development rights which currently allow a single dwelling house to be changed into a small HMO without planning permission.

An HMO is a property shared by at least three people not of the same family with shared facilities such as bathroom or kitchen.

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Currently a single dwelling can be converted into an HMO for between three and six people without the need for planning permission. Under the proposals being decided by the executive when it meets on 4th April, anyone wanting to do that in future would have to submit a planning application. Larger HMOs are already subject to planning control.

Burnley Town Hall. Photo: Kelvin StuttardBurnley Town Hall. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
Burnley Town Hall. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

The results of the consultation carried out in October/November 2023 found that 85% of those who responded either supported the proposals or raised no comment.

If approved by the executive, the additional control would cover the following wards which have the highest number of HMOs in the borough:

• Bank Hall

• Brunshaw

• Daneshouse with Stoneyholme

• Gannow

• Gawthorpe

• Queensgate

• Rosehill with Burnley Wood

• Rosegrove with Lowerhouse

• Trinity

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A Burnley Council spokesperson said: “The proposal to remove permitted development rights won’t prevent HMOs being created but it will give the council more control over how many there are and where.

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“While HMOs can provide a form of low-cost housing, particularly for younger people, those on low incomes and for those with short-term housing requirements. We also recognise that they can in some cases have a detrimental impact on neighbours and wider communities. This move will help a balanced approach and help address some of the concerns related to HMOs.”

If confirmed, the new arrangement is set to come into operation from October 2024 to allow for the legal process to be completed.

Speaking in September, Burnley Council housing boss Coun. John Harbour said: “There is an increasing number of HMOs in certain parts of our borough and this can lead to issues such as anti-social behaviour and crime and increased pressures on parking.”

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