Agenda and minutes

Cabinet Policy Development Working Group
Thursday, 14th March, 2019 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Lisa Thornett 

No. Item


Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence from Councillors.




Declarations of Interest

To receive Councillors’ declarations of interest (if any) in relation to any matters on the agenda.




Minutes pdf icon PDF 81 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 17 January 2019.


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 17 January 2019 be agreed as a correct record, subject to the removal of the duplicate entry of Councillor Simon Carter in the list of those present.


Matters arising

Any matters arising from the minutes of the previous meeting.




Work Plan pdf icon PDF 181 KB

To review the Overview Working Group’s work plan for the current year.


RESOLVED that the Work Plan be noted.



Community Engagement Strategy - Final Report pdf icon PDF 54 KB

Additional documents:


The Working Group received a final report on the Community Engagement Strategy, which set out an updated Strategy for adoption by Cabinet.


RESOLVED that the Working Group recommends to Cabinet that:


A     The draft Community Engagement Strategy (attached as Appendix A to the report) be approved.


Houses of Multiple Occupation - Question and Answer Session with the Leader and Portfolio Holders


The Chair outlined the format of the question and answer session which would be as follows:


a)    Twenty minutes each for the Leader, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing, and the Portfolio Holder for Environment to give their presentation and answer any questions.


b)    Twenty minutes for the Working Group to discuss Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs).


c)    Ten minutes to summarise and make a recommendation.


The Chair invited Councillor Mark Ingall, Leader of the Council, to the meeting. In response to questions by the Working Group, the Leader outlined the current arrangements surrounding HMOs. The 2004 Housing Act allowed councils to have an additional five year scheme for HMOs.


Some HMOs were well run, however where they were badly run this caused issues for tenants of the HMOs, as well as neighbouring residents. The number of HMOs was increasing and they were useful to the housing stock. It was important to use enforcement to ensure that existing HMOs were well run and that future HMOs were subject to planning controls.


The Leader said that Article 4 Directions prevented development under Permitted Development rights. They were not retrospective, but brought developments back within the Council’s planning controls.


He hoped to see some form of landlord accreditation scheme and extra resources for enforcement so the Council could take a proactive role.


The Leader said that he felt a town wide Article 4 Direction would be beneficial, but enforcement also needed to be strengthened.


The Chair thanked the Leader for his contribution and welcomed Councillor Danny Purton, Portfolio Holder for Environment, to the meeting.


In response to questions, Councillor Purton said that HMOs were carried out under Permitted Development. There was a need to ensure that HMOs in existing developments met the same standards they would be expected to meet in new developments.


Covenant controls existed on all dwellings in Harlow, however the legal position was that there needed to be a legal reason to enforce them. The advice was that no such reason existed and therefore the conversion of housing to HMOs had been allowed.


Councillor Purton said that Article 4 Directions would mean that all HMOs would have to meet standard requirements in order to be granted planning permission. It was explained that any application for converting a property to a HMO would be subject to the Council’s planning scheme of delegation.


Councillor Purton said he advocated a town wide Article 4 Direction.


The Chair thanked Councillor Purton and welcomed Councillor Mark Wilkinson, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing to the meeting.


Councillor Wilkinson said that he welcome any further controls on HMOs. They were critical in addressing housing need in Harlow and it was important they met certain standards.


Consistent enforcement of HMOs was needed and this should be carried out at an Officer level. There would be an additional resource requirement to enforce existing HMOs, and a further resource requirement if a town wide Article 4 Direction is implemented.


Councillor Wilkinson said he supported a town  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.


Matters of Urgent Business

Such other business which, in the opinion of the Chair, should be received as a matter of urgency by reason of special circumstances to be specified in the minutes.