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Housing stock survey to protect Kingsholm's family homes is delayed by council red-tape

September 28, 2021 4:40 PM

Angela Conder and Jeremy Hilton in Oxford RoadA promised housing stock survey in Kingsholm has been delayed yet again by council red tape.

The latest excuse was provided by the Conservative cabinet member in a written answer to a question from Councillor Jeremy Hilton, who represents Kingsholm.

The survey is planned so that the council can provide definitive evidence that too many family homes in Kingsholm are being converted into Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

A 130-signature petition was handed into the cabinet by Councillor Hilton in November 2020.

The petition said: "Too many family homes in Kingsholm are being converted into Houses in Multiple Occupation, without planning permission being required. It is currently permitted development for six persons or less.

I/We the undersigned demand that the city council starts work immediately on preparing evidence and documentation to apply to the Secretary of State to give Kingsholm the protection of an Article 4 Direction.

This means that all conversions of family homes into Houses in Multiple Occupation would require planning permission."

Councillor Hilton said: "Lib Dems tried to amend the council plan in July 2020 to get the work started on a housing stock survey, but the Conservatives voted it down.

"That is why I raised an online petition to get public support. I handed it in at the November 2020 cabinet.

"Shortly afterwards, I met officers who suggested we schedule the survey work for April this year. Then it was delayed until the summer to be part of a countywide housing survey.

"Now the Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Strategy says there have been delays because of legal queries and the tender documents haven't been issued. It is ridiculous, the word incompetence comes to mind.

Ward colleague Councillor Angela Conder said: "Kingsholm residents are frustrated by the Conservative council's reluctance to treat Kingsholm as a special case.

"We see the onward creep of Houses in Multiple Occupation and the damage done to the community.

"Parking, noise and litter all contribute to the degradation of our once-quiet streets."

Councillor Hilton concluded: "It is very frustrating trying to get projects implemented at the city council. We are given dates, then later dates and then sometime never.

"The Conservatives have cut back so far, nothing seems to get done on time. The council has accurately been described as the 'vanishing council'.

"This housing stock survey is critical in getting our planning rules toughened up to protect Kingsholm's family homes. It cannot be delayed further by red-tape or more accurately blue-tape."