Council to gather evidence on the impact of HMOs

The Runnymede Planning Committee voted overwhelming in support of a recommendation to investigate the impact of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in Runnymede and to decide if it would be appropriate to introduce an Article 4 Direction to help control them.

At the RBC Planning Committee meeting on Wednesday, 22nd March, councillors considered a report presented by the Planning Policy Team which showed a very high concentration of HMOs in Egham and Englefield Green.  This concentration is believed to be due to family homes being converted into HMOs by private landlords and then used to house students of Royal Holloway college.  The college has been growing continuously in recent years as it aims to reach its target of 15,000 students by 2029-30 even though it does not have the accommodation to house them.

Councillor Mullens – who has been concerned about HMOs in Egham for many years – spoke of the anti-social behaviour (ASB) experienced by residents as a result of some Royal Holloway students living in these HMOs, and Councillor Abby King explained how local school numbers have plummeted as the number of family homes in Englefield Green has fallen due to these conversions.

Much work is still needed though, and the committee heard how firm evidence is required to show how controlling HMOs would ameliorate the ASB caused by Royal Holloway students, loss of family housing stock and other local amenities.