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Cautious welcome for Environment Minister’s HMO plans

15 December, 2008 - by Alex Maskey

Cautious welcome for Environment Minister's HMO plans

South Belfast Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey has given a cautious welcome to Environment Minister Sammy Wilson's plans to limit Houses of Multiple Occupancy but has said that the proposals do not go far enough and do not take into account the fact that many areas are already well above the proposed HMO limits.

Speaking today Mr Maskey said:

"I would welcome the announcement by Sammy Wilson that he is intent on dealing with the HMO issue and that a 10% cap has been placed on HMO development in most parts of Belfast.

"These proposals, however, do not go far enough. The Minister has stated that he will permit HMO concentration to rise to 30% in areas where they high levels of such accommodation already exist. This ignores the reality that the level of HMO's in many areas, particularly in South Belfast, are already well above the 10% and 30% limits.

"To add to this, the Department of Social Development, tasked with registering HMO's, is failing to adequately fulfil this remit. This highlights the need for a cross-departmental approach to tackling this issue.

"What is required is a plan to tackle the proliferation of HMO's and to reverse the number of HMO's in these areas. It also requires not just moving from HMO's to apartments it as some within the Planning Service seem content to do". CRÍOCH

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