September Local Action Team Meeting

The next Hanover & Elm Grove Local Action Team meeting will take place on Monday September 30th – 7pm at the Hanover Public House on Queens Park Road. To view the minutes of the last meeting, click HERE

Hanover and Elm Grove Area

Local Action Team

(HEGLAT)

 Meeting on Monday 30th September

7:00pm sharp

At The Hanover pub, Queens Park Road

Everyone who lives or works in Hanover or Elm Grove welcome!

  • Minutes of the last meeting & follow-up issues to be discussed
  • Matters Arising in our local area
  • Police issues
  • Student Halls and accommodation
  • Bill Randall update on contact with City Clean
  • Parking Survey street-by-street with Steve Reeves (Main Topic)

 Please come along and discuss any issues you may have, particularly about parking, HMOs or Anti-social behaviour

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September meeting in brief part 2 – Houses in Multiple Occupation

The other main topic this month was Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO’s). Large numbers of properties being coverted from family into shared housing in the area brings pressures.

Previous meeting have looked at night noise, refuse and recycling issues and parking as being particularly impacted upon by an increased and more transient population.  Additionally – and harder to quantify – are worries that the ‘liveability’ of the neighbourhood changes with greater population churn, that people become less likely to know their neighbours and that short term residents have less of a commitment to the area and community.

With these issues in mind, the meeting was pleased to welcome the Head of Operations at BHCC Housing Strategy – Martin Reed and Liz Hobden from the BHCC Local Development Team.

Martin focussed on HMO licencing.  At present all HMO’s shared by more than 5 people and comprising three stories or more need to be licenced by the council. Being licenced means that the quality of the accomodation is checked and poorly converted or badly managed properties can be refused a licence. Penalties for breach of licence can be significant and more details about the current regime – including a register of HMO’s can be found on the council website. Martin is currently looking at changing the licence conditions to include properties of two stories or more rather than three, which will bring a lot more local properties into the licencing regime.  To make this change, Martin needs to carry out a full consultation, and the likelyhood of this going forward will depend on the outcome of this. More information on this process will be posted here as it becomes available.

The second strand of the HMO debate came from Liz, who is looking at the potential of a planning tool called an  ‘Article 4 Direction‘. Currently, if a property is extended to to provide extra bedrooms as a viable HMO, so long as it it doesn’t excede its permited development rights it would not normally need planning permission. An Article 4 Direction can be made which removes permitted development rights in some circumstances; this doesn’t mean that properties cannot be extended, but would mean that developers would need planning consent for these changes. This process is being adopted at the moment by other local authorities for similar reasons. If an Article 4 Direction is made, Liz is exploring a precentage level of HMO’s per street – the example given was 10% – which could be established via planning, meaning greater local control over the proliferation of HMO’s in the City.

Contributions from both officers were warmly welcomed and much appreciated. More details will be placed in the minutes, and updates will be posted as they are available.

September meeting in brief – pt 1 parking on Elm Grove

Pretty much everyone would agree that arrangements like this (left) are a problem. You get a lot of this on Elm Grove where pavement parking is common. Enforcement powers exist on those stretches covered by double yellow lines, but this has not been carried out in recent years and at the moment – in parking terms – anything goes. Following concerns around the level of accidents and complaints about restricted access for residents and pedestrians, the council recently came up with a plan; namely that from October 3rd, those parking on the pavement where double yelow lines were in place would be issued a fixed penalty notice.

A number of residents were unkeen on this solution, which made the September LAT meeting busier than usual as this chance was taken to raise the issue with ward councillors. Because of concerns identified via the Elm Grove Residents Action Group the ward councillors had come armed with a potential compromise; to delay any enforcement action for a three month period to give time for further discussions with the local community and hopefully to arrive at an alternative approach for challenging illegal, dangerous and antisocial parking.

This outcome seemed broadly supported, although one resident who regularly faces problems getting into her home because of badly parked vehicles was unhappy about the delay. A mix of views was expressed, with the majority seeming in agreement that the worst examples of bad parking and pavement driving should be tackled, but that some form of better managed pavement parking would be neccesary to meet local parking needs. This was not unanimous, with some residents feeling that all pavement parking should cease in line with the highway code and existing legal powers.

The next steps: after he has confirmed that it is OK to put back the enforcement date Cllr Follett will put together a working group comprised of local residents, with specialist input from councill officers, police etc… and including comment from special interest groups such as disability organisations, cycling groups, and the school.

A sign up sheet was circulated at the meeting and quite a few residents volunteered to take part in the working group. Anyone who wasn’t at the meeting who would like to be involved should contact Cllr Follett – matt.follett@brighton-hove.gov.uk to find out more.

As more information becomes available about this process, it will be posted on this site.

The remainder of the meeting included a discussion of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO’s) and a brief summary of this will be posted next. Both of these topics, and other issues covered at the meeting will be included in the full minutes, to be published in due course.