Cardiff Council’s new Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) is set to be approved by Cabinet at the end of this month, which will spell the end to the creation of new HMOs in Cathays and Roath.
Following months of refusing Change of Use applications based on the unapproved and unreleased guidance – the vast majority of which were overturned upon appeal because they did not have the power to do so – the Council’s bid to prevent the creation of any further HMOs in Cathays and Roath will receive its final seal of approval before September is out.
To summarise the new guidance, Cardiff Council will restrict the density of HMOs to 20% in the Cathays and Plasnewydd (Roath) wards and 10% in all other wards. Change of Use applications will be based on the density of HMOs within a 50m radius of the property in question.
For example, if an owner wants to convert a previously owner-occupied property in Cathays to either the HMO sui generis (7+ tenants) or C4 (3-6 tenants) planning classification, permission will only be granted if no more than 20% of properties within a 50m radius are already HMOs. As we know, the vast majority of properties in Cathays are already HMOs, so this threshold will virtually always be exceeded, meaning the application will be rejected. The same can be said for many parts of Roath.
Once the SPG is approved, the Council will go back to refusing any Change of Use application that falls foul of the new guidance. How they handle any appeals remains to be seen, but they’re very unlikely to be lenient seeing as they have pushed so hard to get the guidance put in place.
As we’ve previously written about, the new guidance will leave certain Cathays house values in ruin, taking thousands and thousands of pounds off the value of owner-occupied property prices; a massive blow to long-term residents.
Cardiff is not the only city to adopt such planning guidance, with Swansea looking like going down the same avenue in their city.