Action group in Northampton pleased planning inspectorate refuses HMO application

HMO Action Group Far Cotton.
HMO Action Group Far Cotton.

An action group in Northampton is trying to deter prospective landlords from putting in an application for HMOs in Far Cotton.

Since the University of Northampton submitted plans to move out of its current sites in St George’s Avenue and Boughton Green Road to a 55-acre site in Nunn Mills Road within the Waterside Enterprise Zone, landlords have been snapping up many student lets in Far Cotton.

In a bid to prevent an influx of shared homes, the HMO Action Group, which has been established by residents to prevent the over-concentration of student homes in Far Cotton, is trying to ensure that it remains an area where residents enjoy living.

In August of last year, the group voluntarily submitted over 120 addresses to Northampton Borough Council, which they believed to be HMOs.

Subsequently, the Guildhall confirmed 70 addresses were HMOs and told the planning committee how many houses exist within 50 metres of a new HMO application.

Now, the HMO Action Group is pleased that the planning inspectorate has this month upheld and dismissed an appeal regarding an HMO application in Southampton Road.

This is upon the grounds that the concentration of shared homes would have risen to 16.2 per cent in a 50-metre radius if the application had been approved.

The provision of HMOs must be restricted to a maximum of 15 per cent.

A spokesperson for the Action Group said: “We are very pleased the planning inspectorate has upheld and dismissed the appeal regarding this address/application.

"It demonstrates NBC was right to refuse this application. We assisted NBC by identifying all HMOs within a 50-metre radius of this property, which were unknown to them, as prior to April 2016 people did not need planning permission when converting a single dwelling into a HMO. Therefore NBC were not aware of all the HMOs which existed before this date."

He added: "An over-concertation of HMOs in some parts of Far cotton is leading to the saturation of car parking levels, as cars are illegally parked on double yellow lines, on junctions and mini round-a-bouts.

"The amount of refuse and recycling presented and the associated litter problems is creating a blight on our area. Many HMOs are occupied by a transient population who don’t tend to integrate into our community nor take any pride it as they don’t live here for long. This is leading to the loss of community spirit in Far Cotton."

"There is two further applications for HMOs, which were refused by NBC and are waiting for an appeal decision by the planning inspectorate, we hope both these appeals are upheld and dismissed too."

The group now has over 250 member and can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hmoactiongroupfarcotton/