Community leaders are pushing ahead with plans to force landlords looking to open smaller houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) in Ipswich to get permission from the local authority.

In a meeting last Tuesday, Ipswich Borough Council's executive supported a motion to press ahead with plans on securing an Article 4 direction.

The decision would need to be signed off by Michael Gove, the Housing Secretary, but it would force landlords planning to open HMOs for fewer than six people to apply for planning permission.

Ipswich Star: Housing Secretary Michael GoveHousing Secretary Michael Gove (Image: PA)

Under current laws, HMOs only require local authority approval if they are for six or more occupants.

Proposals for HMOs across Ipswich have been submitted in recent months, including for an eight-bedroom home in St Helen's Street.

Similar proposals have recently been approved in Stoke Street and Foxhall Road.

If an Article 4 direction is approved, it legally has to apply to the smallest geographical area possible.

Carole Jones, Ipswich Borough Council's portfolio holder for planning and museums, said the proposals had cross-party support among community leaders.

Ipswich Star: Carole Jones, Ipswich borough councillorCarole Jones, Ipswich borough councillor (Image: Charlotte Bond)

She also said it would improve living standards and make residents more aware when HMOs are planned to be created in residential areas.

Mrs Jone said: "Under the current legislation, you can convert an HMO for fewer than six people without planning permission.

"We get the picture that this was happening across the town. 

"If we get an Article 4 direction approved, it means anyone wanting to open a small HMO needs to get permission.

Ipswich Star: Plans are in place for HMOs in Ipswich (file photo)Plans are in place for HMOs in Ipswich (file photo) (Image: Newsquest)

"The government says you can only go for this where necessary to avoid what is called 'wholly unacceptable adverse impacts'.

"It is a high bar to meet. We really hope it will happen – people should know if an HMO is going to open in their street.

"It will provide proper, decent accommodation. It is important for a lot of people."

A decision is expected to be made during the next full council meeting on November 16.