Calls To Restrict Shared Homes In Reading

30 August 2011, 05:00

People living near Reading University say they feel isolated in their own community because of all the shared and student homes in their area.

Now Green Party councillor Melanie Eastwood (pictured) from the Park Ward is asking Reading Borough Council to limit the number of Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs).

"What you can see if you walk around these streets is substantial parking problems. Each of these homes is likely to have three or four cars and these streets don't have off-road parking. They're not necessarily designed for that number of cars."

Cllr Eastwood has told Heart she often hears complaints from people in her area about noisy parties and constantly changing neighbours.                                                 

"The feel with residents is it's kind of pot luck who you have arrive next to you every 6 months - sometime you might be lucky to get the considerate, quiet neighbour and sometimes you might not be and that's a very hard way to live your life with that uncertainty."

                                           Hear more from Melanie Eastwood

Councillor Tony Page, Deputy Leader of the council and Cabinet member for Strategic Planning and Transport says it's not just students causing problems and they want all members of the community to behave responsibly.

"This high turnover can lead to people that have lived there for longer feeling somewhat isolated - and I understand that sentiment very clearly.

"We are looking at further use of planning powers. Central government under the last government was looking at changes and the current one is as well.

"We are committed to seeing what further use we can make of planning powers to ensure whole roads do not become multi-occupied.

"But unfortunately in some areas the horse bolted some years ago - parts of roads off the Oxford Road for example have been majority multi-occupied for 30 or 40 years, as long ago as that, and parts of Redlands and Park near the university."

Cllr Page adds there are also existing powers to deal with anti-social behaviour like littering and noise.

                                           Cllr Page explains what the council's doing

Reading Borough Council has started a consultation with people living in the Redlands area around the university and Royal Berkshire Hospital to find out what they think about HMOs.

One of the things they're consulting on is whether there should be restricted parking for residents so houses with three or four cars wouldn't get the same priority as a household with one car.

Oxford City Council has recently voted to restrict the number of HMOs to one in five properties on any 100-metre stretch of road.