Councillor calls for campaign group to tackle rise in HMOs in Northampton after five more granted permission

'We know some people do need them but more needs to be done to control this'

Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 5:18 pm
Danielle Stone, one of the Labour councillors for Castle ward at West Northamptonshire Council

Concerns have been raised by councillors about the amount of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) being created in Northampton

Five new HMOs were approved by West Northamptonshire Council's Northampton area planning committee yesterday evening (Tuesday, June 1).

The applications are usually decided on by officers but several councillors called these in because of their worries about their impact on the community.

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Labour councillor Danielle Stone believes a town-wide campaign is needed to investigate the issue and reduce the amount of HMOs as they exacerbate parking and fly-tipping problems.

"I understand the planning commitee have got their hands tied but it's really frustrating and there are lots of questions to ask about this," she told the Chronicle & Echo.

"Like how many HMOs are implicated in criminal activity, how many have been linked to Covid outbreaks, how many children are living in them and what are the safety issues.

"We know some people do need them but more needs to be done to control this so we need a town-wide campaign group to get all the issues out."

Homes on Delapre Crescent Road, Edith Street, Forfar Street, Holly Road and Towcester Road were given permission to become HMOs for between four and six occupants by the planning committee.

Labour councillors Ms Stone, Rufia Ashraf and Emma Roberts and independent Julie Davenport called in the applications while dozens of objections were made by residents, citing worries over parking, fly-tipping, noise and 'community cohesion'.

HMOs have long been an issue for residents in the town and the Castle ward councillor said she understands why landlords want to turn their rental properties into HMOs as they make more money but thinks they need to be more restricted.

"Some people need HMOs like students, vulnerable people and the poor but they need to be of good quality with appropriate size standards," she said.

"They upset the balance of the community - one HMO on a street is fine but once you get too many then they cause problems."