Houses in Multiple Occupancy

At the 11 June 2013 Cabinet meeting, agreement was received to authorise the making of an pdf Article 4 Direction (8 KB)  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 pdf Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Supplementary Planning Document (1.25 MB)  (SPD). The Draft HMO SPD was consulted on between 14 April to 13 May 2014. pdf View the consultation statement on the HMO SPD (1.05 MB) . The HMO SPD was approved by Cabinet in September 2014 for adoption. pdf View the adoption statement (178 KB) .

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 pdf Worcester Standard Newspaper on Friday 8 March 2013 (91 KB) .

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

HMO Scope of the Direction

The Direction applies to ALL wardsin the city. To inform the Article 4 consultation, a pdf map of known HMOs in the city in 2012 (10.54 MB)  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 pdf Frequently Asked Questions (392 KB)  for the Article 4 Direction and the related Houses in Multiple Occupation Supplementary Planning Document.

Conservation Areas

York Place

There is currently an Article 4 Direction in place for York Place in the Britannia Square Conservation Area. The Direction has been in place since 1986.

Related Documentation

Shrubbery Avenue Conservation Area

The Article 4 Direction for the Shrubbery Avenue Conservation Area was approved by Worcester City Council’s Planning Committee on 13 December 2018 and came into effect on 20 December 2018.

The Direction and accompanying plan are available for view below, at the offices of the Council’s Development Management Department, Museum and Art Gallery, Foregate Street, Worcester WR1 1DT, or at:

Customer Service Centre
89 The High Street

Related Documentation

Park Avenue

On 22 June 2020 Worcester City Council made a non-immediate Article 4 Direction for the Park Avenue Conservation Area, under Article 4 (1) of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (as amended) to be considered for confirmation following a public consultation period.

The effect of the Article 4 Direction will be to require planning permission for certain types of minor development which would normally be classed as permitted development. The aim of this is to conserve the character and appearance of the area. 

Representations may be made concerning the Article 4 Direction between 15 June 2020 and 5 July 2020. If you wish to make a representation you may do so by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by post to Rebecca Barnett, Conservation Officer, Worcester City Council, The Guildhall, High Street, Worcester, WR1 2EY. Any representations must be received by midnight on 5 July 2020.

The Article 4 Direction will come into force, subject to consideration of all representations received and confirmation by the Council, on 24 July 2020.