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Development Management Unit
Dept. of Development
Plymouth City Council
Plymouth PL1 2AA
Managing Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) - Article 4 Direction
There are many tools available to manage Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). This page relates to the planning control of HMOs and specifically to the use of an 'Article 4 Direction'.
On 14 September 2012 an Article 4 Direction came into force in relation to the removal of permitted development rights for changes of use from C3 Dwellinghouse to C4 HMOs in the neighbourhoods of Beacon Park and Pennycross, City Centre, East End, Efford, Hartley and Mannamead, Higher Compton, Lipson and Laira, Mount Gould, Mutley and Greenbank, Peverell, Stoke and Stonehouse in the city of Plymouth.
The Article 4 Direction and a map showing the specific area concerned (outlined in red) is available below.
The effect of the Direction is that, since 14 September 2012, planning permission is required from the Council for the change of use of a property, in the areas listed above, from a Dwelling house to a C4 HMO.
'C4' HMOs are small shared dwelling houses occupied by between three and six unrelated individuals, as their only or main residence, who share basic amenities such as a kitchen or bathroom. Further information about the C4 use class is contained in Circular 08/2010 which is available from the Communities website.
Prior to the Direction, planning permission was not required from the Council for this type of change of use due to 'Permitted Development Rights'. The 'Article 4 Direction' removes the permitted development rights of properties in the areas specified and brings this change of use under the control of the Council.
The changes do not apply retrospectively to properties used as HMOs before the Direction came into force on 14 September 2012, although all properties within the Article 4 Direction area will have their permitted development rights removed for the type of development specified.
It remains possible for a C4 use to be changed back to a C3 use without requiring planning permission from the Council, and this has been the case since 6 April 2010. Change of use to HMOs with more than six unrelated individuals already requires planning permission from the Council.
Development Guidelines SPD First Review
We have now adopted the Development Guidelines SPD First Review which includes further guidelines in relation to planning applications for changes of use to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) which are received as a result of an Article 4 Direction. Further details can be found on the Development Guidelines SPD First Review page.
Background to the Article 4 Direction
On 23 August 2011 Cabinet members were asked to consider applying for an 'Article 4 Direction'. They resolved to approve the recommendations of the report.
On 13 September 2011 Plymouth City Council made an Article 4 Direction in relation to the removal of permitted development rights for changes of use from C3 Dwelling house to C4 HMOs in the neighbourhoods of Beacon Park and Pennycross, City Centre, East End, Efford, Hartley and Mannamead, Higher Compton, Lipson and Laira, Mount Gould, Mutley and Greenbank, Peverell, Stoke and Stonehouse in the City of Plymouth.
In line with legislation, the Council carried out a six week consultation on the proposed Article 4 Direction. This gave the opportunity for anybody to give thoughts on the proposals. The consultation ran from 13 September 2011 to 5pm on 25 October 2011.
On 9 January 2012 the Growth and Prosperity Overview and Scrutiny Panel considered the consultation responses received. They resolved to endorse the use of a non-immediate Article 4 Direction and to propose to the Cabinet Member for Planning, Strategic Housing and Economic Development that, taking into account the consultation responses received, he should confirm the Direction.
Having considered all of the responses received during consultation, the Council confirmed the Article 4 Direction on 14 February 2012.