Durham County Council’s Cabinet will be asked to agree stronger rules for considering planning applications for student accommodation when it meets next week (16 March).
Following consultation with residents and businesses, members are being asked to approve an interim policy on student accommodation. They will also be asked to endorse the introduction of an Article 4 direction for part of Durham City as well as consultation on another direction for the Framwellgate Moor area.
The interim student accommodation policy was developed in line with discussions as part of the County Durham Plan’s Examination in Public. The policy covers all types of student accommodation and provides clear advice on how applications will be considered following submission. If agreed by Cabinet, the interim policy would remain in place until a new local plan was adopted.
The new policy would mean that developers would have to show there would be no negative impacts on the local area and that their application supports the council’s regeneration objectives. They would also be expected to demonstrate that the scheme would meet a need in the area.
Councillors will also be asked to endorse the confirmation that an Article 4 direction will go ahead in areas of Durham City and that there will be consultation on a further direction for the Framwellgate Moor area. The Article 4 direction removes permitted development rights – under national planning regulations – that currently allow owners to turn properties into small Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) without planning permission.
Cllr Neil Foster, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “Introducing a policy on student accommodation, alongside the Article 4 directions, will give the council power to achieve a fair balance in our communities. Allowing Durham City to continue to be a great place to live, work and visit as well as being welcoming to the students that add so much, both culturally and economically, to the city.”
Cabinet will meet to consider recommendation on Wednesday, 16 March at County Hall.