'Nowhere near enough parking' for HMOs in Newport

Shared houses with “nowhere near adequate” parking are forcing cars out onto narrow streets and making them difficult to negotiate, a committee has heard.

Councillor Eric Carter
Councillor Eric Carter

Councillor Thomas Janke said providing sufficient space should be a requirement for getting a house in multiple occupancy [HMO] licence as inconsiderate parking created “big trouble” in a “medieval market town” like Newport.

Councillor Eric Carter told the Communities Scrutiny Committee many of the HMOs in the Newport South and East ward, which he and Councillor Janke jointly represent, belong to students, so that problem and others will only grow as Harper Adams University grows.

Angie Astley, the housing, communities and customer services executive director at Telford & Wrekin Council, said HMOs were “clearly a hot topic” and said the issue would be examined.

The eight-member committee was discussing its proposed 2021-22 work programme, which included an item on HMO licensing and other housing issues, including the “overview and application of enforcement powers in private-sector housing”.

Councillor Janke said: “One of the biggest issues we’ve got in and around Newport is parking. It’s an absolute burden. What I find is many houses that are bought and sold for HMOs just do not have anywhere near enough adequate parking for a lot of the time.”

The 2004 Housing Act defines HMOs as privately-let properties inhabited by two or more separate households sharing some facilities, such as a bathroom or kitchen. If they contain five or more people, government regulations require them to be licensed by the local authority and undergo inspections, including for fire and gas safety.

Councillor Janke said the adequacy of parking “should be looked at” in the licensing process, as it is a “huge consideration, especially in a medieval market town like Newport where some of the streets are so tight, if there isn’t enough parking supplied, we’re in big trouble”.

Last year, councillors and town and parish councils were asked for their suggestions for the committee’s work programme.

Hollinswood and Randlay Parish Council submitted one aimed at “ensuring properties have adequate allocated parking spaces”.

It added: “Planning applications must be accurate and include definitive plans.

“HMOs need monitoring and enforcement where necessary; parking is an issue wherever there is an HMO.”

A report for the Communities Scrutiny Committee in November said the issue would be considered as part of the ongoing Local Plan Review.

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