Article 4 Direction for Houses in Multiple Occupancy

At the 11 June 2013 Cabinet meeting, agreement was received to authorise the making of an Article 4 Direction to remove permitted development rights in relation to changes of use from residential dwelling houses (use class C3) to small Houses in Multiple Occupation (use class C4).

This Article 4 Direction came into effect in Worcester on 1 July 2014. The introduction of the Direction means that a planning application is now required to change a use of a dwelling house (use class C3) to a small House in Multiple Occupation (use class C4, where between three and six unrelated individuals share basic amenities, such as a kitchen or bathroom).

The implementation of the Article 4 Direction will be guided by a Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). The Draft HMO SPD was consulted on between 14 April to 13 May 2014. View the consultation statement on the HMO SPD. The HMO SPD was approved by Cabinet in September 2014 for adoption. View the adoption statement.

Article 4 Directions are a means by which a local planning authority can bring within planning control certain types of development, or changes of use, which would normally be permitted development (i.e. not require an application for planning permission).

The purpose of the Direction is to give the Council more control over the location of shared houses and flats in Worcester.  The decision to introduce an Article 4 Direction regarding change of use to HMO properties followed a period of public consultation from 8 March to 19 April 2013. The consultation on the Article 4 Direction was advertised in the Worcester Standard Newspaper on Friday 8th March 2013.

A report was taken to the Cabinet meeting on 12 February 2013 prior to the public consultation on the draft Article 4 Direction.

Scope of the Direction

The Direction applies to ALL wards in the city.  To inform the Article 4 consultation, a map of known HMOs in the city in 2012 was produced. The Council are continually updating their record of HMOs in the city, so this map presents a snapshot in time, and will be updated prior to the adoption of the HMO SPD.  This map will be updated prior to the introduction of the Article 4 Direction.  The Direction does not apply to the change of use of a building from Use Class C4 (small HMO) back to Use Class C3 (residential dwelling house) as this remains a permitted change.

We have produced a list of Frequently Asked Questions for the Article 4 Direction and the related Houses in Multiple Occupation Supplementary Planning Document.

Additional Licensing – Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Consultation

On 17 March 2015, Worcester City Council, in exercise of its powers under section 56 of the Housing Act 2004, designated the City of Worcester in its entirety as subject to Additional Licensing. The designation shall come into effect on 1 September 2015.

For further details on the scheme, please visit Additional Licensing of HMOs.