Tougher powers would stop the spread of bedsits in Blackpool

Stronger powers could be used to prevent failed Blackpool b&bs being converted to bedsits.

Wednesday, 26th September 2018, 4:01 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th September 2018, 7:02 pm
Police attending an incident at a HMO in Vance Road in 2016

Stronger powers could be used to prevent failed Blackpool b&bs being converted to bedsits.

Blackpool Council is set to introduce controls throughout the town which would mean in future anyone wishing to use property as a house in multiple occupation (HMO) would need planning permission.

It is hoped the move will help stop rundown former guesthouses becoming a magnet for anti-social behaviour by offering cheap permanent accommodation.

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Changes to planning laws introduced by the Government in 2010 meant HMOs (use of a house by not more than six people living as two or more households) were designated as 'permitted development' which did not require planning permission.

A town hall report says the authority wants to introduce an Article 4 Direction which would enable it to over-rule the legislation and make it compulsory to seek planning permission for any HMO within the borough.

The report says while not all HMOs are 'problematic', they often offer poor quality accommodation, have transient occupants and impact badly on surrounding areas.

In the past, hoteliers have complained HMOs have attracted unruly behaviour to the resort's key holiday areas.

The report adds: "Given the unique problems associated with coastal towns, it is felt an Article 4 Direction for the whole borough is justified."

This would ensure any potential changes to a HMO require planning permission giving the council "some control over those issues that might cause problems further down the line."

There will now be a public consultation before it is decided whether or not to go ahead with the action.

It is estimated around 23,000 people in Blackpool are currently living in around 3,000 HMOs, of which approximately 2,300 fall short of the necessary standards for housing.

In other parts of the country, local authorities have used Article 4 Directions to control the spread of student accommodation.