‘Bedsit-land’ battle set to receive a boost

BEDSIT BATTLE... Laygate residents, left to right, Nader Naderi, Len Clarke, Carol Naderi and Rob Johnson, opposed plans for flats.
BEDSIT BATTLE... Laygate residents, left to right, Nader Naderi, Len Clarke, Carol Naderi and Rob Johnson, opposed plans for flats.
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MOVES to tackle the creation of ‘bedsit land’ areas in and around South Shields town centre are expected to be rubber-stamped by senior councillors tomorrow.

The action is proposed amid concerns at a growing number of large family homes which are being converted into Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs).

Last year, the council’s planning committee rejected an application for 13 studio flats in the town’s Beach Road, over fears that the premises could become a “doss house”.

That decision came amid concerns that so-called HMOs in the street, and in and around the town centre, were ‘lowering the tone’.

Meanwhile, residents fought an unsuccessful battle to block plans for another flats conversion at 277 Laygate in South Shields.

Now members of the council’s decision-making cabinet are being recommended to agree an Article 4 Direction.

That would enable the local authority to control, through tighter planning rules, the growth of HMOs

The main objective of the Article 4 Direction is to ensure that developments can be prevented which might contribute to communities becoming “unsustainable as a result of a concentration of shared housing”.

In a report to the committee, David Cramond, the council’s corporate director for economic regeneration, says: “Homes in multiple occupancy can provide a valuable source of accommodation, particularly for vulnerable people, but they need to be effectively managed to ensure that they contribute to the overall balance of the housing market and promote stable local communities.

“Whilst the confirmation of the Article 4 Direction will create certain additional controls over homes in multiple occupation, this represents an initial response to a very fluid housing market so needs to be kept under constant review.”

The cabinet is to meet from 4pm tomorrow at South Shields Town Hall.

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