North East Connected

Further rules for student houses

Rules requiring planning permission before family homes can be turned into student accommodation in the Framwellgate Moor area will come into force next year.

The change follows a consultation with local residents with all respondents backing the move to introduce an Article 4 direction in areas of Framwellgate Moor, Newton Hall and Pity Me.

Once in place, the direction will remove the existing rights – under national planning regulations – which currently allow owners to turn properties into small Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) without planning permission. By bringing these conversions into the planning process, the council can consider the impacts of such a change as well as allowing local residents to have their say on applications.

Cllr Neil Foster, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration and culture, said: “While the number of students is relatively low in the Framwellgate Moor area compared to the city, we’re aware that student accommodation is a key issue for residents and are happy to support the clear desire for stronger regulation in the area.

“The contribution students make to both the culture and economy of Durham cannot be underestimated but it’s essential that we have balanced communities across the city and beyond.”

The council was asked to consider an Article 4 direction for the Framwellgate Moor area during consultation for the same regulations for areas of Durham City last year which subsequently came into force in September.

The introduction of an Article 4 direction requires a year’s notice before it can come into force. With the process having started in May – and following the successful consultation – the council has now confirmed that the order will be put into place in May 2017.

Introducing an Article 4 direction has no effect on homes already converted to HMOs.

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