DRAFT planning guidelines has been produced which could control the number of houses of multiple occupation (HMO) in Swansea.
Swansea Council employed specialist consultants late last year to help them put together supplementary planning guidance which can be used when planning applications for HMO, and is set to be put out to public consultation.
The guidance suggests that within a proposed new ‘HMO Management Area’ – including parts of Uplands and Castle wards – a maximum of 30 per cent of all residential properties would be allowed as HMO.
In all other parts of Swansea the proposed maximum level of HMO is set at be 10 per cent of residential properties.
According to figures from September 2016, there are currently 1,619 licensed in Swansea – many providing short-term accommodation for students.
Mark Child Swansea Council cabinet member for wellbeing and healthy city, said: “At present, when the council determines HMO applications it can look generally at the concentration of HMO within communities but has no guidelines to define what those levels should be.
“The draft guidance provides us with the ability to set specific levels for the number of HMO permitted in residential areas.”
The Welsh Government introduced new legislation in February 2016 which requires HMO with six or less occupants to obtain planning permission.
The changes were introduced after concerns about the levels of concentration of HMO across Wales. This has led to an increase in the number of planning applications going through in Swansea for properties that previously did not require it.
Councillor Child added: “What we want to do know is hear from the public to find out their views in relation to the draft guidance.
“Once this has taken place we can look at adopting the new SPG and making it part of the planning process when HMO applications are being considered.”
A report will now be presented to the council’s planning committee and will seek to agree a public consultation on the draft supplementary planning guidance.
Uplands councillor Peter May, who has been urging the authority to produce the guidance, said Cardiff Council had produced their own version last April.
He added: “I am happy that the document is now finally with us.
“Over the next few weeks, my constituents will have the opportunity to have their say and look at the detailed proposals for themselves.
“Factors such as car parking, refuse and impact on neighbours that HMOs bring with them are just as important to consider and I will be looking at the proposals carefully when responding to the consultation.”