ACTION to tackle the growth of so-called bedsit-lands in South Tyneside has been approved by borough councillors.
Over recent years, concern has been voiced about the increasing numbers of large family houses and office buildings being converted into homes in multiple occupancy (HMOs).
Those fears centre mainly on how this trend has changed the nature of certain parts of town, particularly in and around Beach Road and Laygate in South Shields.
An example of South Tyneside Council’s bid to keep bedsits at bay was its rejection of an application to convert a former solicitor’s office at 3 Beach Road into 13 studio flats.
This week, members of the council’s decision-making cabinet agreed to the implementation of a direction enabling the local authority to control, through tighter planning rules, the spread of HMOs.
The main objective of the direction is to ensure that developments can be prevented if they might contribute to communities becoming “unsustainable as a result of a concentration of shared housing”.
At the meeting, Coun Alan West, the council’s lead member for housing, accepted that HMOs “can provide a valuable source of accommodation, particularly for vulnerable people”.
But he added: “They need to be effectively managed to ensure they contribute to the overall balance of the housing market and promote stable local communities.”
Members were told that as the housing market was fluid, the policy would be under constant review.