“We are aiming to make the Order amending the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987, which will create the HMO use class, by 8 March 2010. This order does not need to be laid before Parliament.”
…straight from the horse’s (Minister’s!) mouth…
The truth is there is nothing anybody can now do to stop the Government introducing their new HMO planning rules on 6 April – i.e. planning permission needed for three or more unrelated sharers.
About four weeks ago the NLA launched a campaign tool for all landlords to be able to e-mail their MP with their objection. We knew there was very little chance of that bearing fruit.
And this week the RLA launched a similar tool. Amazing that both organisations are singing from the same hymn sheet, but this is unlikely to achieve much either.
Tragically, for both organisations, there was literally nothing that could be done.
The Order making this changes doesn’t even need to be laid before Parliament. In fact, it’s already been signed and will come into effect on 6 April 2010. Which is probably the day Gordon will scurry off to Buck Palace and ask HMQ to dissolve Parliament.
But do we need to take stock here? The fact is that most MPs actually support these changes. Or, at the very least, are not going to do much to oppose them.
Why? They, like many local councillors, have mail bags full of letters from residents who are complaining about noise, anti-social behaviour, the so-called ‘studentification’ of traditionally ‘family’ areas and a whole host of other very real problems associated with shared housing.
Oh yes, no one is denying that shared housing is not problem free. Where there are specific issues, local authorities and law enforcement agencies have all the powers they need to deal with them.
However, this will be the first time planning laws will be used to decide WHO can live somewhere as opposed to WHAT someone can live in.
Let the reader be clear: absolutely no one – and certainly not the Government – has any idea what these changes might do to local housing markets and up and down the land.