Council calls a halt to more HMOs in St Andrews

Archived news: published on Thursday 11 Apr 2019 by Fife Council

Cllr Judy Hamilton

Cllr Judy Hamilton

FIFE Council has agreed to a new policy to manage the number of HMOs (houses of multiple occupation) in St Andrews.

The new agreement means a policy preference for no new applications for HMO licenses to be granted in the town - a decision that it's hoped will help relieve pressure on the over-crowded housing market and meet demand from all sections of the community.

The council consulted householders, local groups, organisations and students over the last few months on views on the policy change. Residents were asked their opinion on options within the range of 0% (no further growth) to a maximum of 3% (limited further growth). 

And despite a mixed response councillors have agreed to no further growth as the preferred option. 

Convenor of the council's Community and Housing Services Committee Cllr Judy Hamilton explained: "We've previously looked at different ways to reduce pressure on accommodation, particularly in the centre of St Andrews. This included a moratorium on new HMOs in the central conservation area of St Andrews through planning legislation but unfortunately this hasn't solved the problem."

There are around 1,200 HMOs in Fife and nearly 86% of these are located in St Andrews. Recent data estimates that around 40% of people living in St Andrews live in HMOs. The issue has resulted in long-standing housing issues for the town including inflated housing prices and a lack of affordable housing in the area.

Added Cllr Hamilton: "This is historically a major issue for the town and the decision we've taken today will help to create a better balance between the different needs of the wider community. We will continue to work with the University to further explore all options for accommodation in the town that will meet the future needs of both students and residents."

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