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East of England town votes through new HMO restrictions

Landlords in Ipswich face restrictions on converting properties into HMOs after the council voted to introduce an Article 4 direction.

Its decision reflects a bid to avoid “wholly unacceptable adverse impacts” on residents and if approved, would force landlords to apply for planning permission when developing small HMOs housing fewer than six tenants.

The direction could cover large parts of Westgate and Alexandra wards, as well as northern sections in Bridge, St John’s and Priory Heath, eastern areas of Gipping and Gainsborough, and parts of Bixley, Hollywells, Rushmere and St Margaret’s. The final decision will need to be signed off by Housing Secretary Michael Gove.

Ipswich Council says because HMOs traditionally fall within permitted development, there are often no records of where these houses are within the borough, making it harder for councillors to identify issues.

Ordinary

Councillor Carol Jones (pictured) adds: “Developers who buy little terraced houses in very nice, ordinary, parts of town should not be allowed to turn those into HMOs without going through a proper procedure. They have to make a planning application which is then judged - it’s a really simple thing.”

The Ipswich Star reports that although Jones welcomes the proposals, she is disappointed that the motion would not affect the whole of Ipswich and is worried about those who are impacted by HMOs as many people could be living in poor conditions.

Proposals for a number of HMOs across Ipswich have been submitted in recent months, including an eight-bedroom home in St Helen’s Street, and similar plans in Stoke Street and Foxhall Road.

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