News Posted in Local Developments, News.

Bedsits rules review agreed

Work is to take place to tighten controls on bedsits around Bognor Regis.


Arun District Council members have agreed to ask their council officers to explore their options to restrict the properties in the most deprived areas.


The measures could include limiting the number of the properties, known in planning terms as homes in multiple occupation (HMO), the quality of them and the definition of them.


Cllr Amanda Seex (LD, River) put forward the suggestion for the buildings where residents share bathrooms and kitchens backed by her fellow Lib Dem, Cllr Inna Erskine (Pevensey).


She said: “The reasons why such additional reports are considered necessary is that HMOs are often concentrated in clusters.


“These are areas that can often suffer from poor housing conditions and high levels of deprivation, crime and anti-social behaviour.


“Introducing further controls would be expected to contribute to an improvement in the social and economic conditions in the areas, a reduction in anti-social behaviour, an improvement in general housing conditions, a reduction in the level of deprivation and a reduction in crime.”


The motion was prompted by a House of Lords report last summer into the future of British seaside towns, she said.


“Living solely in a bedroom long term is not conducive a happy, healthy life.


“If we want close the life expectancy gap between our poorest and wealthiest wards, people need access to their own bathrooms and kitchens.


“If you are sharing with up to eight strangers, you can not be sure you will get access to either.”


The large number of HMOs in Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, compared to the surrounding areas, could mean the Lords’ belief the properties could result in a range of social and economic problems, she said.


She was backed by a range of councillors. Cllr Andy Cooper (C, Angmering) said: “I fully support this.


“I think this is a good call for our area and I would hope all members would support it.”


Cllr Francis Oppler (LD, Orchard) said he had seen Richmond Avenue change from a road of wealthy families to a series of HMOs in an area which was one of the district’s most deprived.


“The vast majority of people who live in HMOs are perfectly decent people.However, sadly many of those people are vulnerable for a wide number of reasons and, also again, disproportionately have a number of issues in terms of addiction problems and also, perhaps, mental health problems.


“We have to put those individuals first and foremost, which I believe Ms Seex’s motion does,” he said.


Arun’s leader, Cllr Dr James Walsh, said the crime maps for the towns showed the highest rate of incidents occurred in the council wards with the most HMOs.

Posted in Local Developments, News.