Judge throws out HMO challenge from councilsMake Text Bigger
A High court judge has thrown out a challenge to the government’s decision to review house in multiple occupation planning rules.
Four councils led by Milton Keynes argued at the High Court, London, that housing minister Grant Shapps’ decision to overturn planning rules for house in multiple occupation (HMOs) did not give planners enough time to consult with the Communities and Local Government Department about the changes.
The outgoing Labour government adopted the planning rules on April 6, 2010.
On June 17, Mr Shapps announced he proposed to drop them from October 1, 2010, and invited consultation from interested parties.
The stop-start rules meant HMO developers had to seek planning permission for new shared lets from April 1 to September 30, 2010. After that, the planning requirement was scrapped unless the council has an article 4 order under the Town and Country Planning Act.
Shared house decision was unfair but not unlawful
This order lets a council designate if HMO developments need planning permission in their areas. The order can relate to a single street or the entire council area.
So far, around 25 councils – including the four mounting the legal challenge -have applied for the article 4 order.
Milton Keynes and the other protesting councils – Oxford City Council, Newcastle City Council, and Charnwood Borough Council (Loughborough)– have 28 days to lodge an appeal, but are not expected to take the case further.
The judge gave a written verdict and decided that although the councils might consider the short consultation unfair, the decision was lawful.
Milton Keynes Council cabinet member for planning Mike Galloway said: “We lost the case because the judge considered that whilst the consultation carried out by the Department for Communities and Local Government was unfair to planning authorities it was not so unfair that it was unlawful.”
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