New HiMO ruling is win for city chiefs

The scene after the Fishermead fire in which Bola and Fiyin Ejifunmilayo were killed
The scene after the Fishermead fire in which Bola and Fiyin Ejifunmilayo were killed

COUNCIL chiefs have claimed a huge victory in the row over Houses in Multiple Occupancy.

Last Thursday Milton Keynes Council was granted permission to apply for Judicial Review of last year’s Government decision to change planning rules for HiMOs.

The initial bid to secure a Judicial Review was launched in September last year to halt proposals which would have allowed landlords to convert properties into homes for up to 10 tenants, without regulation.

A High Court judge has ordered that a substantive hearing, looking into the case, take place before the end of April – news that comes as a huge boost to the city’s campaign to scrap the government changes.

The announcement is particularly welcomed following the tragic deaths of mum and daughter Bola and Fiyin Ejifunmilayo who were killed in a flat fire in Fishermead, an area well populated with HiMOs.

Concerns over regulation of HiMOs was then raised by MP Mark Lancaster at PM’s Question Time.

Ward councillor for Fishermead, Martin Petchey, said: “This decision is a great step forward for the city. I think taking HiMOs out of planning control was something that was very unfortunate. If you ask people in the Fishermead area, they will tell you that they are one of the biggest problems.

“This really is good news and whereas it is not a final victory it is at least a big step forward.”

On October 15 last year the Honourable Justice Mitting had initially refused permission to allow any local authorities to apply for Judicial Review.

Cabinet member for planning, Councillor Mike Galloway, said: “If these proposals go ahead it will be the loss of a very important tool to regulate how and where HiMOs spring up. There is support across the council to challenge this decision and therefore we are pleased with the decision of the judge.

“Many people are concerned about how the character of the area is changing as a result of HIMOs and we want to ensure that we regulate them appropriately.”