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St James HMO conversion refusal overturned at appeal

Council failed to provide sufficient evidence to support 2012 planning policy introduced to limit impact of student occupation of residential housing stock.

Exeter Article 4 Direction area July 2011 map

Exeter Article 4 Direction area map July 2011 

Exeter city council  Housing crisis  Planning policy  Exeter local plan  Student accommodation 

Exeter City Council’s decision to refuse permission for the change of use of a two-bedroom terraced house on Hoopern Street to a three-bedroom House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) has been overturned at appeal.

The house is located in the Article 4 direction area in which such changes of use under permitted development rights have been prohibited by a Supplementary Planning Document since 2012.

The policy was introduced to limit the impact of student occupation of residential housing stock in the area near the university’s Streatham campus.

The planning inspector who heard the appeal said that the council had provided insufficient evidence to support its case, failing to quantify the impact of an additional resident at the property and identify specific adverse effects resulting from increased occupancy.

The decision is not expected to set a precedent for other similar changes of use in the Article 4 direction area, which will continue to be decided on a case by case basis.

Widespread conversion of residential housing stock for student occupancy continues across the city, inside and outside the Article 4 direction area.

Around 16,000 students currently live in more than 4,500 HMOs in Exeter which could otherwise be used for residential housing by local people, with continuing university expansion set to remove another 500 dwellings from Exeter’s residential housing stock next year.

Exeter City Council promised to review its student accommodation policies in November last year in response to a petition presented by Pennsylvania residents calling for protection from the encroachment of student landlords buying up the remaining residential housing in their area.

However it appears that the council has yet to progress its review, of which there is no sign in its forward plan of business which runs until April next year.


 is editor of Exeter Observer and a director of its publisher Exeter Observer Limited.

Exeter in brief
Exeter in brief

The police inspectorate says DEVON AND CORNWALL POLICE must make urgent improvements after it was found to be inadequate in three of nine areas including responding to emergency and non-emergency calls and managing registered sexual and violent offenders.
Its assessment found two other areas required improvement while two more were graded “good”. A new chief constable was appointed in December after the force was placed under enhanced inspectorate monitoring last year.

DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL is consulting on its draft Exeter Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan, which is already nearly six years late, until the end of March.

UNIVERSITY OF EXETER staff have resumed strike action over pay, pensions and working conditions alongside Exeter school teaching staff with dozens more strike days planned during February and March.

EXETER CITY FUTURES published the agenda for its last board meeting on 30 January, two months after the meeting was held. It says it is “committed to being completely transparent and open about the things that are discussed at board meetings”. No minutes were included.

New figures show that 2.2 million people used EXETER CENTRAL RAILWAY STATION in the year to March 2022, making it the 155th busiest of 2,569 UK railway stations and (slightly) busier than Exeter St David’s.

DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL is not making sufficient progress with its children’s services since they were judged inadequate in January 2020 according to the latest Ofsted monitoring report which found that key areas still require significant change and serious issues remain.

The opening of MARSH BARTON RAILWAY STATION has been delayed yet again, to “this spring”, putting project completion more than six years behind schedule.

EXETER CHIEFS rugby club has reintroduced its offensive “tomahawk chop” chant during games at Sandy Park despite seeking to rehabilitate its reputation over misappropriation of Native American imagery.

The UNIVERSITY OF EXETER has submitted detailed plans for its 1,700 bed West Park redevelopment of 50,000m2 of student accommodation.

The police inspectorate says DEVON AND CORNWALL POLICE must make urgent improvements after it was found to be inadequate in three of nine areas including responding to emergency and non-emergency calls and managing registered sexual and violent offenders.
Its assessment found two other areas required improvement while two more were graded “good”. A new chief constable was appointed in December after the force was placed under enhanced inspectorate monitoring last year.

DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL is consulting on its draft Exeter Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan, which is already nearly six years late, until the end of March.

UNIVERSITY OF EXETER staff have resumed strike action over pay, pensions and working conditions alongside Exeter school teaching staff with dozens more strike days planned during February and March.

EXETER CITY FUTURES published the agenda for its last board meeting on 30 January, two months after the meeting was held. It says it is “committed to being completely transparent and open about the things that are discussed at board meetings”. No minutes were included.

New figures show that 2.2 million people used EXETER CENTRAL RAILWAY STATION in the year to March 2022, making it the 155th busiest of 2,569 UK railway stations and (slightly) busier than Exeter St David’s.

DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL is not making sufficient progress with its children’s services since they were judged inadequate in January 2020 according to the latest Ofsted monitoring report which found that key areas still require significant change and serious issues remain.

The opening of MARSH BARTON RAILWAY STATION has been delayed yet again, to “this spring”, putting project completion more than six years behind schedule.

EXETER CHIEFS rugby club has reintroduced its offensive “tomahawk chop” chant during games at Sandy Park despite seeking to rehabilitate its reputation over misappropriation of Native American imagery.

The UNIVERSITY OF EXETER has submitted detailed plans for its 1,700 bed West Park redevelopment of 50,000m2 of student accommodation.

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