Following the Acocks Green Neighbourhood Forum Public Meeting on Tuesday 10th May, there was much discussion about recent planning applications. Many in attendance shared concerns about the high level of Homes of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) in our area and what can be done to curb their growth and make sure they are managed properly.
It is expected that larger homes, such as some of the older Victorian and Edwardian houses, may be sensibly and appropriately made into well managed HMOs. These have to be regulated and licensed and there are many of these in our area. The greater concerns from the Public have come from a growth in Supported Exempt Accommodation which are HMOs that are offering some sort of social support to the residents, because of specific needs. These are often not well-regulated, do not have to be licensed and do not have to have planning permission. There has been high-level criticism of some of these properties in recent times and campaigns to get them properly regulated.
In a suburb such as ours there are always changes and developments, but it is important to remember that, as local residents, we can give our views directly to the council and these have to be considered. Local people’s views can stop or change proposed developments.
If you disagree with a Change of Use of a dwelling or a business and wish to object to that change, it is important that you submit your views. The more responses to a Planning Application (PA) the better chance that the PA will be reconsidered by the council. It is understandable that people get annoyed and upset by some of the changes that have taken place, but the best thing to do is act in a positive way by submitting your views officially, each view will have to be considered and ‘People Power’ has changed the course of development many times in our area.
Close to the site of the Planning Application the council has to display details of the application, this will often be tied to a lampost and posted to nearby properties. This notice will show the PA number and an outline of the proposal.
If you go to the Planning Online page you can type in the PA number which will take you to the full details of the application and you can read and look at the plans.
As well as this route to view applications, the council produces a weekly list of Planning Applications that you can download each week – Weekly Lists . Handily they are produced in alphabetical order and so Acocks Green appears at the top of the list. If you want to read more about a particular PA then copy and paste the application number into the Planning Online Application Number Search, and on this page you can submit your views. There is normally a closing date for comments, so try to get your views in on time, although if you do miss the closing date, you can still submit your views up to the decision date and they will generally be considered. Discuss it with your neighbours and others who may be interested, encourage them to also submit their views. Another way is to search under Applications Awaiting Decision and you can search by ward by typing in Acocks Green and see all the outstanding applications
The Council have key practical criteria they use to judge each application. It is important that your views make reference to at least some of the criteria. Parking, access, type of development, local impact, room sizes and garden space are some of the criteria considered, so it is worth mentioning these.
The most important thing is to make your views heard and if enough people share your views and also submit them to the council, then there is a greater chance of having a real impact. If an application receives 20 objections/comments then the decision has to go to a committee where it will be discussed and considered more fully.