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Houses in Multiple Occupation looked at by Swansea Council

New draft guidance to help in the planning of houses of multiple occupation in Swansea is expected to be presented to councillors early next year.

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Swansea Council has enlisted the help of specialist consultants to draft Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) which will be referred to when HMO planning applications are being considered.  

The Council is aiming to have the new guidance drafted to present to Planning Committee in January.

A six week public consultation will then take place.

Cllr Child added: "At present, when the council determines HMO applications it can look generally at the concentration within communities but have yet to define what those levels should be in relation to the proportion of HMOs against other residential properties.

"We are keen to draft supplementary planning guidance as soon as possible, which will provide us with the ability to set specific levels for the number of HMOs permitted in residential areas."

A scrutiny review of HMOs has also started in the run up to new planning guidance being drafted.

The review will give an insight into how the council operates services linked to HMOs including its licensing scheme and also planning procedures.

According to figures from September 2016, there are currently 1,619 licensed in Swansea. The majority of HMOs provide short-term accommodation for thousands of students.

Cllr Child added: "I welcome the review being undertaken so we can take a closer look at how we as a council manage HMOs.

"HMOs provide a specific type of accommodation for people wanting to live in our city. We know the majority are let out to students that are studying here.

"Gaining a better understanding of these types of accommodation will ensure they are managed in the best way possible."

The Welsh Government introduced new legislation in February 2016 which requires HMOs with six or less occupants to obtain planning permission. The changes were introduced after concerns about the levels of concentration of HMOs across Wales.

This has led to an increase in the number of planning applications going through in Swansea for properties that previously did not require it.

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