Local Planning Guidance Note No 5 - Conversion of Dwellings to Houses in Multiple Occupation
The proposals and guidelines which follow have been prepared and adopted by the Council to foster a better standard of conversion. By taking note of the straightforward advice contained in this leaflet it is hoped that developers will have a better understanding of the needs of the conversion of dwellings to houses in multiple occupation and incorporate necessary features at the planning application stage.
In recent years inflated house prices have increased demand for small units of rented accommodation and has resulted in a number of dwelling houses being utilised to provide flats, bedsits, shared households and lodging accommodation. In the consideration of proposals for the conversion of dwellings to houses in multiple occupation, the Council will ensure that the character and amenity of the locality are not adversely affected.
Requirement for Planning Permission
Planning permission is not required when a unit of residential accommodation (e.g., house, bungalow, flat, maisonette) continues to operate as a dwelling house.
To operate as a dwelling house one of the following must apply:
- Use by a single person or family (includes a person or family taking in lodgers).
- Use by no more than six persons living on a communal basis as a single household (includes handicapped or disabled persons living together under the "care and support within the community" scheme and other small groups who choose to live together on a communal basis, such as students).
The following conditions are often indicative of a single household:
- The tenants should regularly eat together
- The rent must be paid communally
- Kitchen and bathroom facilities must be shared
- Fridges and food stores not locked.
- Individual tenants occupy the premises with a reasonable degree of permanence.
If the premises does/would not operate as a family home of a single household then development is involved and planning permission is required for a change of use. Permissions may also be required under Building Control or Environmental Health Regulations.
The Council has no objection in principle to the conversion of existing residential premises provided that the proposal satisfies car parking, amenity and environmental considerations and is consistent with other local planning policies.
Conversion proposals will normally be expected to meet the following requirements:
- Bedsits - 1 space per two bedspaces
- Shared house - 1 space per two bedspaces
If facilities cannot be provided within the site curtilage they may be provided either:
- Along the road frontage of the premises where it causes no traffic problems, or
- In an area of exclusive off-street parking within a 100 metres of the premises. Such parking will need to be secured by legal agreement with the Council prior to the granting of planning permission.
Car parking spaces in small front gardens will generally be unacceptable.
In assessing proposals the Council will have regard to existing and predicted levels of on-street day time parking demand and night time parking stress within the vicinity of the development.
Where a rear garden exists it should be used to provide drying areas, recreation space and bin storage. The facilities should be made available for use by all residents.
In the absence of garden space, space should be provided in the premises for drying clothes. Bin spaces should be provided at a rate of 1 per 3 units and located at the rear of the premises, otherwise they should be well screened.
Conversion of Dwellings to Houses in Multiple Occupation
Adopted February 1993
Revised June 2004