A REGISTER ought to be created to keep track of crammed student houses in Northampton, planners said, after a bid to create another in the town was rejected.
Residents living near Chadstone Close, in Sunnyside, applauded councillors at a Guildhall meeting last night after they voted to block the conversion of a detached two-bedroom house in the cul-de-sac into a controversial house of multiple occupancy (HMO) for students of the nearby University of Northampton campus.
The proposals would have seen five people living in the house but neighbour raised fears about extra late-night noise, cars and rubbish.
After voting down the proposals and hearing officers say they were uncertain how many HMOs there were near the university, councillors said solid numbers were needed so the scale of the issue could be grasped by planners.
Councillor Matthew Golby (Con, New Duston) said: “As an authority, it would be better if we could actually get a handle on where these houses of multiple occupancy are.”
Councillor John Yates (Con, Spring Park), a former councillor for the Sunnyside area for 12 years, said: “It’s a shame the planning and housing departments haven’t got together to create a register so people looking at buying homes could see where they are for themselves.”
Councillor for the area, Mary Markham (Con, Obelisk), who was not a member of the planning committee, but is the cabinet member for housing, said: “The officer’s report merely said there are very few HMOs in the area; in my own research I found 55.
“The rate these houses are being taken over is quite phenomenal. ”
Paul Stones, one of the partners hoping to convert the house, said he would have ensured students signed a tenancy contract that would have covered noise disturbance, handling of rubbish and the general maintenance of the property, and the house would have been council accredited.
However he admitted that making students who were in breach leave the house would have required a court order.