Corby MP backs our calls for greater curbs on HMOs as new application goes in for nine-person shared house on Exeter estate
The Northants Telegraph has been running a campaign to give councillors greater powers over HMO licensing
A campaign to place more limits on Corby's HMOs has been backed by the town's MP Tom Pursglove.
In spring, the Northants Telegraph called on North Northamptonshire Council to make an article four direction for the whole of Corby over serious worries about the number of HMOs in the town. Our investigation showed owners from outside our town were keen to snap up family homes at bargain basement prices and turn them into Houses in Multiple Occupation.
An article four direction would force all landlords of any new HMOs in Corby with more than three people living in them to apply for planning permission and place the power to decide back in the hands of our local councillors. Currently any HMOs with less than six people can avoid the planning process altogether.
There are currently 263 large HMOs in Corby and an unknown number of smaller ones.
After pressure from this newspaper and hundreds of our readers, NNC councillors agreed to look more closely at the issue and, at their meeting on July 19, ordered regular updates to be made to the authority's planning policy committee.
Now MP Tom Pursglove has now written an open letter to NNC chief executive Rob Bridge to urge him to 'very seriously consider' the introduction of an article four direction in Corby.
His letter states: "Over recent months I have received a significant volume of correspondence from my constituents in Corby, who hare concerned about the noticeable increase in numbers of HMOs. Many have also raised issues around anti-social behaviour emanating from some such dwellings.
"Having carefully considered the numerous complaints I have received, many of which I have raised with you individually, some of which highlight particularly egregious examples of HMOs, I am writing to request that North Northamptonshire Council now very seriously considers introducing an Article Four Direction in Corby in order that any applications for new HMOs can be properly assessed and regulated to ensure that local residents are not negatively impacted by such changes and that development is consistent and respectful to its surroundings.
"Moreover, I also understand that the introduction of such an article would ensure that the quality of housing is taken into consideration.
"I would therefore strongly urge NNC elected members and officers to consider this proposal which I know is strongly supported within the Corby community."
Mr Pursglove's calls come as a new application for another HMO in Croyde Avenue on the Exeter Estate was submitted to the council. Croyde Avenue already has three HMOs and parking on the narrow street is very limited.
The owner of the house, London-based Amar Sadaranagani of Billetstaff Limited wants to convert the former three-bed terraced family home into a six-bedroom house for nine adults. Mr Sadaranagani is also behind an application in Stanion Lane to convert this house into the 'Hilton of HMOs'
The application is to convert the existing home in Croyde Avenue to an HMO by rearranging internal partitions in order to accommodate five en-suite bedrooms, one bedroom with a separate bathroom and a kitchen and communal eating area. Three of the bedrooms would have couples living in them and three would have single beds.
In the application, the owner says that during preliminary discussions, the council's HMO licensing officer had no objections to the proposal, and a planning officer made positive comments. The direct neighbour is also said by the owner to be 'in full support' of the application.
You can view the application and comment on it here.