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More HMO restrictions in Bristol as battle over fast-expanding sector hots up

hmos bristol filton|

Landlords in Bristol will soon be required to gain planning permission to convert properties into HMOs in three key areas, it has been revealed.

South Gloucestershire Council is to bring in Article 4 directions in the Bristol neighbourhoods of Stoke Park and Cheswick and parts of Filton following a public consultation that saw 93% of those responding to it declaring their support for more HMO restrictions.

There has been a strong campaign by local residents to stop more homes from being converted into HMOs in Bristol but particularly in Filton (main pic) which, activists and councillors claim, now contains 40% of all the county's large HMOs.

It is also claimed that over the past year there has been an 11% increase in HMOs across the county.

The Filton Voice recently wrote an article quoting a local estate agent who said: "Investors are lining up to buy homes in Filton which have the potential to become HMOs - in some cases developers paying in cash up to �15,000.00 over the asking price'�.

One activist, Nic Thomas, started a petition to gather support for greater HMO restrictions, saying: '[Increased numbers of HMOs are] causing the breakdown of the community, separating families and, particularly in the last year, has caused a lot of mental health issues to arise'�.

Like Brighton, Bristol city council recently adopted new rules that restrict the number of HMOs based on density, but campaigners claim this initiative is failing because many HMOs are not declared or licenced.

South Gloucestershire operates a mandatory scheme for larger HMOs with five or more unconnected people living within them and sharing facilities.

The council had looked at applying Article 4 directions across the county, but a report by consultancy Arup revealed that only the three areas now being considered had seen an influx of HMOs, largely because they are student areas or near large employment centres including the HQs for Airbus and BAE Systems.

Read more: The complete guide to letting an HMO property.

The council is expected to vote the Article 4 directions through at the next planning meeting.

Cllr Steve Reade, (pictured) said: 'It is fantastic to see residents of Filton and Stoke Park and Cheswick are so supportive of our plans to introduce Article 4 directions which will form a strong part of our ability in the new Local Plan to protect communities from being overrun by HMOs.'�

Read the proposals in full.

Pic: Google Streetview

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