Hillingdon Council have passed new legislation which will see student housing drastically reduced in the Uxbridge South and Brunel wards.
The new legislation, an Article 4 direction, means landlords will have to apply for planning application on houses with three or more occupants.
Article 4 of the Town and Country Planning Act allows authorities to require planning permission for things that would normally be permitted to an individual regarding their private property. Up to now, converting a house to HMO did not require permission.
The new legislation means the landlords will have to seek planning permission for any such changes; however, it will not come into effect for another 12 months.
Currently the area has 562 HMOs in the Uxbridge South and Brunel wards alone. Roads dominated by student housing include Barchester Close, Lodge Close, The Greenway, Derby Road and Hinton Road, in the Uxbridge South ward, and Bosanquet Close and Peachey Lane in Brunel ward.
Cllr Keith Burrows (Conservative), cabinet member for planning said: “This is no way an attack on students or Brunel. We regard Brunel as strong partners of ours. We have had enough of our community being split.”
Since 2006 there have been over 400 complaints about HMOs in the Hillingdon area, including complaints about anti-social behaviour and parking problems.
Cllr Mo Khursheed (Labour) supported the motion, but suggested that it did not cover a large enough area. He said: “To save any further delay, this movement should serve other wards. We act when were able to act to protect our residents and we will move forward with a clear planning process.”
The movement will ensure the protection of long term residents and their homes; however it could be seen as sending a message to students that they are not welcome in the area.
A number of other large University cities have taken advantage of recent changes in planning regulations and at least eleven towns and cities have had Article 4 directions initiated by local authorities. Manchester and Portsmouth have already passed their 12 month period of notice and are now in full effect.
It is not known what effect the Article 4 direction will have on families and working households (e.g. flatshares) comprising more than three people.