NOISE, parking and neighbour nuisance all feature in new guidelines to be followed by Argyll and Bute Council when it's considering applications for 'houses in multiple occupation', or HMOs, in the area.

The new, non-statutory, guidance was put together following public consultation. There are four key principles: support getting the right number of HMOs in the right places; ensuring they are of good quality and properly maintained; managing the impacts on local amenities; and co-ordinating the approach between planning and licensing.

But the council has acknowledged that in some sectors – including tourism and defence – HMOs still have an important part to play in the housing picture of the area.

For planning purposes, an HMO is a house where more than five unrelated people live together, or a flat which three or more unrelated people share.

However, a licence may be required where there are more than two unrelated people living in the house or flat.

The guidance makes clear what issues are considered to manage potential impacts on the local area when assessing planning applications.

These include:

– the cumulative impact on the character of the area;

– parking – in particular the sufficiency of off-road parking;

– the potential for increase in noise and disturbance, on an individual case and cumulative impact basis;

– impacts on residential and/or business amenity;

– the circumstances and requirements related to student and military personnel accommodation;

–management and control mechanisms of the wider impacts.

Helensburgh and Lomond councillor David Kinniburgh, the authority's policy lead for planning and regulatory services, said: “There clearly is a demand for this type of housing in specific areas.

"Oban is fast developing as a university town and the Maritime Change Project will see a further 1700 workers in Helensburgh and Lomond area.

“We have to make sure we do the best we can for those who wish to share homes, while still keeping the very special character of our communities.

“Concerns raised during the consultation were taken into account and addressed in the final guidance, so sincere thanks to those who took the time to respond.”

Full details on the Technical Guide on Houses in Multiple Occupation can be found on the council's website –

click here

to find out more.