Councillors in Reading are set to rubber stamp plans to extend restrictions on the number of HMO conversions.
An Article 4 direction already covers parts of the town where HMOs are prevalent, in much of Park, Redlands and Katesgrove wards, as well as Jesse Terrace.
The council now wants to tighten up the existing thresholds in areas around the university and to introduce a new threshold for other parts of Reading without restrictions and where applications for house conversions to HMOs are spreading.
Proposals include clarification that the existing 25% threshold within 50 metres of a property applies to the total number of residential buildings within the Article 4 areas and a new approach to proposals for conversion to both flats and HMOs outside these areas, where the proportion of residential buildings within 50m of the site that have been converted would not be expected to exceed 50%.
Other criteria include whether the application site falls within the 30% most deprived local areas.
A recent eight-week public consultation on the planned changes to its supplementary planning document only yielded 12 written responses.
Prevalence Micky Leng (pictured), lead councillor for planning, says it has seen that a prevalence of HMOs in parts of the town can lead to tensions in local communities.
He adds: “Examples include pressure on limited parking or multiple bin collections at HMO addresses. More fundamentally, HMOs can change the look, feel and character of a local neighbourhood, which existing residents understandably have concerns over.
“If adopted next week, these changes strengthen and update existing planning policies and will be a material consideration when deciding if an HMO conversion will be approved.”
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