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Bexley council respond to public's concern over HMOs in the borough

PUBLISHED: 10:54 15 June 2016 | UPDATED: 10:54 15 June 2016

Terraced houses (generic). Picture: Getty/Matt Cardy

Terraced houses (generic). Picture: Getty/Matt Cardy

2008 Getty Images

An online petition has gained more than 1,500 signatures

Bexley council claims it is ‘actively working’ toward managing the number of small residential properties being converted into houses in multiple occupation.

The council had previously told the Bexley Times that they ‘cannot stop’ the rise in HMOs in the borough, with more than 100 established since 2015.

It comes after a petition reached more than 1,500 signatures from local saying ‘No to HMO’.

Local residents have voiced fears over the conversions, claiming that some of their homes have lost value after HMOs were established next door.

David Bryce Smith is the council’s deputy director for public protection, housing and public realm.

He said: “This is something which has only recently started to cause concern and we are taking steps to ensure we have the powers we need to protect the occupiers of the properties and their neighbours.

“It’s important to remember that these properties help meet people’s genuine need for housing. If they are properly managed they do not generally cause problems.”

The Council has been actively looking at all the powers available to it and is developing a comprehensive response to the issue that will include the future adoption of a local planning policy directive (known as an Article 4 directive) which would remove planning permitted development rights for smaller HMOs. If the Council takes this option, it would take around 12 months to come into force.

Full details of the Council’s plans to crackdown on HMOs will be announced in July.

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