The recently published Derry City and Strabane District Council Local Development Plan 2032 (LDP) has proposed new planning policies which introduce draconian restrictions on new HMO’s.

Policy HOU 13 within the LDP introduces HMO Management Areas where permission will only be granted for further HMO developments where the number of HMO’s does not exceed 10% of dwellings on that road. 

No evidence is provided where these HMO Management Area’s will be designated.  It is assumed that these will be designated in the residential areas around the university and regional college.

Outside of these HMO Management Areas permission will only be granted for further HMO development where the number of HMO’s does not exceed 10% of dwelling units on that road.

In the transition period prior to adoption of the final Plan the Council will apply the 30% threshold.

In this case there are a large number of streets around Magee University such as Argyle St, Argyle Terrace, College Terrace, Grafton Terrace, Edenmore Street and parts of the Northland Road where the number of HMO’s already exceeds the 30% threshold.

This policy, will if adopted, will prevent any further HMO development in these are.

Policy HOU 14 introduces further severe restrictions on new HMO development namely;

  • No new HMO to exceed 4 bedrooms.

(This size restriction prevents any further HMO development on larger properties along Northland Road, College Terrace,  Lawrence Hill,  Crawford Square, Strand Road etc.)

  • Original property must be greater than 150 sq. metres.

(This minimum size requirement entirely contradicts the requirement for no new HMO to exceed 4 bedroom and excludes smaller dwellings.)

  • All HMO units are self contained.
  • Any HMO unit is not wholly in the rear of the property and without access to the public street.

(This restriction excludes small residential annexes’ in rear gardens which have traditionally accommodated students.)

  • The proposal does not detract from the established residential character of the area.

(This criteria appears to be a “catch all” bullet point which even if a proposal complies with all the other criteria can still be refused as it offends the “undefined” residential character.)


  • Going forward all new HMO applications that do not comply with these draft policies or exceed the 30% threshold are likely to be refused by the Council.  Applicants may be better advised going directly to planning appeal.
  • Any existing HMO operator who has been in operation for more than 5 years should apply for a Certificate of Lawful Development (CLUED).
  • Developers need to object to these draft planning policies by the 27th January 2019 otherwise they will come into force.
  • The Council’s commitment to expanding student numbers at Magee University is in clear conflict with its draconian approach to HMO development.

Any HMO operators/developers interested in apply for planning  permission or a CLUED application for HMO’s  please contact the Practice on 71 311 551 or at .

Any HMO operators/developers/landowners who wish to object to these draft planning policies please contact the Practice on 71 311 551 or at .


Leave A Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.