Local MP demands action on rogue landlords and student ghettoes

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Steve McCabe is calling on Birmingham City Council to stop making excuses and get on with tackling the persistent problem of rogue landlords, dodgy builders and student ghettoes in Selly Oak.

Walk down many streets in Selly Oak and Bournbrook and you will see building work being undertaken to convert 3 or 4 bedroom family homes into 7 and 10 bedroom accommodations. This work very often doesn’t have planning permission, doesn’t represent state of the art conversions for the young people who have to live there and takes no account of the likely impact on the local community.

In the House of Commons this week Steve McCabe asked the Planning Minister if he agreed that planning officers in Birmingham have a route to tackle this unprecedented and unrestricted growth of houses of multiple occupation and relieve some of the pressure on other members of the community through an Article 4 Direction. In a rare moment of agreement, planning Minister, Nick Boles MP, backed Steve McCabe ‘absolutely’ and told MPs an article 4 direction is the appropriate way to tackle this issue. As well as the problems which conversions pose for the local environment and services, some residents have been plagued by anti social behaviour resulting from mini hostels being erected next door to the family home.

While Steve welcomes the introduction of an Article 4 Direction in Selly Oak, he is extremely concerned that council officers are planning to completely omit the Bournbrook area that arguably suffers most with the problem.

He said:

“I receive a huge number of complaints from constituents in the Selly Oak and Bournbrook area about illegal extensions to houses where rogue landlords convert family homes to 10 bedroom properties. It is hugely frustrating that Birmingham City Council doesn’t seem able or willing to address this especially when councils elsewhere in the country have shown that it can be tackled if the determination is there.

“The Council is now talking about implementing an Article 4 Direction which will place restrictions on the number of houses of multiple occupation that can be built in the future but they propose to completely ignore Bournbrook where the problem is most rife!

“I am fed up with officers drawing up plans to suit their convenience and ignoring the needs of my constituents. It’s time they stopped dithering and started taking some decisive action to deal with this problem which is basically being allowed to spiral out of control.”

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