Student housing 'cap' revealed for Worcester

A new '10 per cent' HMO rule is heading to Worcester

A new '10 per cent' HMO rule is heading to Worcester

First published in News
Last updated
Worcester News: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

A 10 per cent cap on new student houses is coming into force across Worcester - in a bid to stop ghettoes springing up in the city.

The city council has finally revealed its plans to introduce hard-hitting rules for landlords looking to convert properties into houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) after months of preparation.

Under a new rule, a property could only be converted into a HMO if no more than 10 per cent of all the homes within a 100-metre radius have the same status.

The crackdown effectively rules out any more student homes in parts of St John's, such as the city's St Clement ward, where the current ratio is 12 per cent.

The policy also includes a rule that no more than two homes next to each other can be converted into HMOs, in an attempt to spread them out.

It follows years of gripes about late night noise, anti-social behaviour and parking problems as Worcester's student population has continued to grow.

The city council's Labour leadership agreed last year that HMOs, properties containing between three and six people in separate beds, need proper regulation.

Councillor Adrian Gregson, the leader, said: "This type of housing is some of the most popular in Worcester and we know it’s vital for our local economy, often helping young people who are just starting their careers to affordably live in our great city.

"But a high concentration of HMOs in a single part of Worcester can change the character of that area, so our aim here is to ensure that HMOs are spread more evenly across the city."

It is likely to lead to more student housing, and accommodation for young workers, appearing in areas like St Peter's and Battenhall instead of west Worcester.

Although many people associate HMOs with students, a large proportion of multiple-occupation properties in the city are lived-in by young workers.

Councillor Richard Udall, who represents St John's, said: "We've taken more of our fair share, so for us it's a significant improvement.

"Some streets in St John's have 30, 40 or even 50 per cent student housing, it's changed beyond all recognition."

Brenda Wainwright, 71, of Abbey Road, St John's, said: "I like it but I'd go tougher than 10 per cent given the problems around this area.

"We need more family homes, not these student digs."

There are around 750 independently-owned student houses in Worcester.

The university has 1,200 rooms in halls of residence settings but around 10,000 students in total.

The policy will be discussed during a planning committee meeting on Thursday before it goes to the cabinet in February.

If accepted it will come into force by July.

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