AN East Lancashire local authority is set to crackdown on the controversial conversion of homes into bedsits from October.

Burnley Council has considered the findings of a six-week public consultation and is set to increase planning controls over the conversion of properties into houses of multiple occupation (HMOs).

The council’s executive meeting next month has been recommended to agree the removal of what are known as permitted development rights which currently allow a single dwelling house to be changed into a small HMO without planning permission.

An HMO is a bedsit property occupied by at least three people not of the same family with shared facilities such as bathroom or kitchen.

Currently a single house can be turned into an HMO for between three and six people without the need for planning permission.

Such conversions are often strongly opposed by nearby residents.

Under the proposals recommended to the authority's executive when it meets on April 4, anyone wanting to do that in future would have to submit a planning application.

Larger HMOs are already subject to planning control.

The results of the consultation carried out in October and November found that 85 per cent of those who responded either supported the proposals or raised no comment.

If approved the additional controls would cover the nine council wards which have the highest number of HMOs in the borough:

• Bank Hall;

• Brunshaw;

• Daneshouse with Stoneyholme;

• Gannow;

• Gawthorpe;

• Queensgate;

• Rosehill with Burnley Wood;

• Rosegrove with Lowerhouse; and

• Trinity.

A Burnley Council spokesman said: “The proposal to remove permitted development rights won’t prevent HMOs being created but it will give the council more control over how many there are and where.

“While HMOs can provide a form of low-cost housing, particularly for younger people, those on low incomes and for those with short-term housing requirements.

"We also recognise that they can in some cases have a detrimental impact on neighbours and wider communities.

"This move will help a balanced approach and help address some of the concerns related to HMOs.”

If confirmed, the new arrangement is set to come into operation from October 2024 to allow for the legal process to be completed.