Planning rules change on the cards for Hatfield student homes

ANYONE in Hatfield who wants to turn their house into student digs would need to seek planning permission first, if proposals are given the go-ahead.

Welwyn Hatfield Council is bidding to change planning rules for all new Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in the university town.

The new restrictions would mean that, from January 2012, change of use planning permission would be required for houses with three to six occupants.

Large HMOs – those with more than six people sharing – already require planning permission.

The council is today (Wednesday) launching a public consultation into its intention to make what is called an Article 4 Direction under the 1995 Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order.

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An estimated 7.1 per cent of houses in the borough are HMOs, with the vast majority of these in Hatfield. The proposed changes would not affect properties already up and running as HMOs.

Cllr Mandy Perkins, executive member for planning, said: “During the last three to four years particularly, a range of environmental problems has become apparent, associated with parts of Hatfield where there are high concentrations of HMOs, such as South Hatfield and the former Hatfield Aerodrome site.

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“We want to maintain quality of life and amenities for everyone in the Hatfield community, and ensuring we can make the best decisions on local housing is one way of doing this.”

The consultation runs until Wednesday, February 2.

* Have your say by writing to Head of Planning Policy, Welwyn Hatfield Council, The Campus, WGC, Herts, AL8 6AE or email

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