Rethink over shared housing plan in Norwich

Students protesting against the restriction on shared housing.

Students protesting against the restriction on shared housing. - Credit: Archant

Proposals to introduce tighter planning controls on shared housing are to be reconsidered following a council vote.

Norwich City Council's cabinet was asked to decide whether to restrict the number of properties converted into houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

It followed concerns about an increase in anti-social behaviour in areas such as the Golden Triangle, which has a high number of shared accommodation.

Using government powers, known as an Article 4 Direction, the council would require landlords to seek planning permission to convert a home into an HMO.

It would be enforced in areas of the city where 30pc of housing is already used in such a way.

But cabinet members last night agreed that more information was needed before such controls could be introduced.

Mike Stonard, Labour councillor, said: 'We run the risk of chasing the HMO problem around the city unless we have a long-term sustainable solution. We need to think about the impact on residents and the housing needs of the city.'

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UEA Students' Union members protested against the move outside city hall prior to the meeting.

The union previously claimed that the proposals would push students out of certain parts of the city.

Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat city councillor, said: 'I was concerned with the issues residents brought up, about people having different lifestyles to them, people staying up late at night and playing loud music.'

Cabinet members voted in favour of asking the Sustainable Development Panel to reconsider its approach to managing HMOs.

Finn Northrop, non-portfolio officer at the UEA students' union, said: 'I'm very pleased to hear that the council has agreed to postpone the decision for the immediate future, which is fantastic news and a testament to the incredible work of all our student union team.

'Essentially we feel that article 4 restrictions would push out young professionals, who make up 70pc of HMOs, as well as students.

'We feel students add to the local environment and help make Norwich the wonderful place it is to live.'

Do you have an issue with anti-social behaviour near you? Call Luke Powell on 01603 772684.

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