‘A great day for democracy’ as Weston-super-Mare landlord licence plans are scrapped

PUBLISHED: 10:00 26 August 2016

The licences would have applied to landlords with properties in Weston town centre.

The licences would have applied to landlords with properties in Weston town centre.

Steve Lovegrove

A controversial proposal to introduce licences for landlords in Weston town centre has been shelved by North Somerset Council.

The £320 licences were due to be introduced for rented properties across Weston’s Central ward and part of Hillside ward in November, but the council says the proposals will no longer be going ahead.

The licences were designed to raise the standard of rented accommodation in the town centre, but provoked opposition from landlords who claimed so-called ‘rogue’ landlords could be targeted by other means.

This week, the authority revealed it will carry out a further review of the options it could take to improve standards – although those options will still include the original scheme.

A council spokesman said: “We will consider all of the remedies and opportunities open to the council and its partners to improve housing conditions in the private rented sector, including licensing. This could be in the form of the original licensing scheme or could comprise a revised one.”

Paul Routledge is the leader of the Somerset Property Network, which had threatened to take the council to a judicial review if the plans went ahead.

Mr Routledge said: “It is a great day for democracy and it proves it is never too late to talk.

“Good landlords in Weston are determined to rid our communities of problem landlords as much as any council. Bad landlords reduce our investments and bring problems to our neighbourhoods.

“But the way forward is to work with the good to fight evil, so let’s hope that’s what we can do now.”

However, the council’s decision was criticised by Central ward councillor Mike Bell.

Cllr Bell said: “The council has caved in to pressure from bullying private landlords and has let down the many hundreds of people who are living in poor-quality private rented accommodation.

“I don’t want to see any delay in the implementation of tougher action to raise standards and the council must show that they will put in place new proposals quickly. The council must not just dance to the private landlords’ tune.”

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