Belfast HMO Subject Plan 2015
Designation HMO 4
Apart from students, much of the demand for HMOs comes from the growing numbers of single person households and migrant workers. South Belfast is attractive to such groups for many reasons, including the local social life and ease of access to facilities and services and the availability of privately rented housing, including affordable HMO accommodation.
Private renting is more common in South Belfast but it is relatively expensive compared to other parts of the city. Many of those currently renting in South Belfast may be prepared to live in other parts of the city if suitable accommodation were available in well-serviced areas.
A more geographically dispersed and less concentrated HMO market could be considered a more sustainable approach. Consequently, HMO Development Nodes, which meet certain criteria in terms of good public transport, availability of services and access to facilities, are identified for the development of HMOs in other areas.
This approach has a number of advantages:
- By easing housing market pressures in South Belfast;
- By promoting regeneration in other areas; and
- By potentially reducing the impact of intensification in areas where HMOs are already over concentrated.
The higher density residential development resulting from HMOs is encouraged along these nodes. The Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan (BMAP) includes an Arterial Routes Strategy that is intended to reflect the drive in the RDS to enhance the city and reduce the need to travel by car. It is also intended to assist in the promotion of urban renewal throughout the city. Furthermore, the Department wishes to encourage restoration of the built frontage along the Arterial Routes through the development of vacant gap sites and development opportunity sites.
Many of the HMO Development Nodes are designated along sections of, or in close proximity to, the city’s Arterial Routes. These routes provide an opportunity for higher density development, have good public transport provision and serve as the main transport corridors into and out of the City Centre. Generally they also have good access to facilities and services.
The designation of HMO Development Nodes along these routes is less likely to have a direct impact on traditional residential areas. HMO development and the Living over the Shops (LOTS) concept can consolidate frontages and give greater vitality to these routes. Within designated commercial nodes and shopping areas, access to HMOs on upper floors from the ground floor within a designated commercial node or shopping area will be acceptable.
Other HMO Development Nodes are located along or adjacent to the Orbital Boulevard, as identified in BMAP. The Boulevard surrounds much of the
City Centre and HMO development in these locations would be consistent with the objectives of the design concept for the Orbital Boulevard. It is considered that those sections of the Orbital Boulevard designated as HMO Development Nodes meet a number of criteria including regeneration potential, capacity for development, access to services and facilities and proximity to shopping.