COMMENT: City areas are losing their community aspect' with the growth of multiple occupancy housing

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It’s quite unnerving to see that latest data shows 40 per cent of the city’s roads are home to a house in multiple occupancy (HMO) – 618 out of 1,512.

Figures obtained from Portsmouth City Council also show that there are a total of 4,306 known shared homes – but note unregistered HMOs will not be included in this data.

Although this only amounts to 4.7 per cent of total homes in the city, for residents in 19 streets more than 50 per cent of homes in their roads are now HMOs – and in five cases 100 per cent are.

Should we be unduly alarmed at these statistics? After all, HMOs have been with us for decades and all over the country in built-up areas and have been taken for granted.

However, there is cause for concern in a lot of cases and the East St Thomas Residents Forum chairman, Martin Willoughby says: ‘Young families have been almost completely squeezed out of the area as the stock of two to three-bedroom terraced housing has been purchased by developers. 

‘Prices were driven so high by developers’ dash to HMOs, that they were unaffordable for purchase by families.’

This is worrying indeed simply because it poses the question: ‘Where is the next generation supposed to live?’

And not only that, with many residents facing parking restrictions in their own streets, these HMOs mean more cars on the roads which surely goes against PCC’s cleaner air policy?

Plus, when giving the green light to these developers, does the council only rub its hands and think of all the extra council tax landing on its doorstep?

Apparently, the council is now seeking to amend its policy to make it harder for developers to gain permission to extend existing HMOs, so let’s hope it works because, as Martin Willoughby also poignantly says: ‘We have had members that have just had enough and left the area – it is extremely sad.’