HMO Advertising Boards
To leave the current Enforcement Policy unchanged but endorse taking a more proactive approach in working with the particular housing sector to ensure compliance with the advertisement regulation and ensure breaches are pursued and enforced against when expediate to do so, including potential prosecution.
The Committee considered a report on HMO advertising boards.
At the Council meeting on 23rd February 2021 it was resolved:
That the Council agree that the proliferation of HMO Advertising boards across the City, and in particular St Clement and St John’s Wards, creates an eyesore and detracts from the residential nature of parts of the City. The advancement in digital advertising platforms, supported by evidence from the University and students themselves who advise that they look for properties online using platforms such as Student Pad, would negate the need for this form of obtrusive advertising. Consequently, Council refers the issue to the Place and Economic Development Sub-Committee in order to consider the issue and to amend the policy as necessary.
The Interim Head of Planning, in presenting the report, drew the Committee’s attention to the current Planning Enforcement Policy attached as Appendix 1 to the report. The preferred option was not to change the Policy as it was considered to be fit for purpose in pursing breaches of Advertisement Regulations. The other preferred option was to take a proactive approach to the control of unauthorised Class 3(A) signage and write to all those individuals/companies within Worcester City who put up this type of signage. A draft letter was attached as Appendix 2 for Committee Members information.
The current Advertisement Regulations were explained by the Interim Head of Planning, covered at paragraphs 2.2-2.10 of the report, which also included the City Council’s current process for dealing with any breaches. The Interim Head of Planning responded to questions from Committee Members.
Although Committee Members agreed to a letter being sent out to landlords/letting agents it was felt that a sterner and more robust approach needed to be taken, although it was good to remind them of the current regulations. It was considered that a report back to Committee to see how more proactive the Council can be would give confidence to Members that we are taking robust action as an authority.
Committee Members also agreed that it would be beneficial for officers to engage with stakeholders and partners to look at ways in reducing the number of advertisement boards with the intention that they would phase out over time. It was acknowledged that students in particular access availability of accommodation very differently. A press release, alerting the public to the requirement for advertisement boards to be removed within 14 days of a grant of a tenancy, was considered appropriate.
A further report back to a future Committee had been proposed and this was seconded, this report to update on the engagement with stakeholders and partners in taking a proactive approach to reduce the amount of advertisement boards and a mechanism to track progress.
RESOLVED: That the Committee agree to:
1. leave the current Enforcement Policy unchanged but endorse taking a more proactive approach in working with the particular housing sector to ensure compliance with the advertisement regulation and ensure breaches are pursued and enforced against when expediate to do so, including potential prosecution; and
2. request Officers to engage with stakeholders and partners, by taking a proactive approach, to remove or reduce the proliferation of boards and for the Committee to receive a report on its progress in due course.
- HMO Advertisement Boards, item 29. PDF 209 KB
- HMO Appendix 1, item 29. PDF 179 KB
- HMO Appendix 2, item 29. PDF 102 KB