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HMO Article 4 Direction

We are proposing to withdraw permitted development rights for small HMOs.

On 30 October 2019, the Council’s Executive approved the making of a non-immediate Article 4(1) Direction for the urban areas of Bedford and Kempston.

This means we are proposing to withdraw permitted development rights for the change of use of dwelling houses in Class C3, to small houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) in Class C4. A small HMO is where between three and six unrelated people share basic amenities, such as a kitchen or bathroom.

We will be running a consultation on this proposal from 22 November 2019 to 22 January 2020. If agreed, the Direction would come into force on 22 November 2020.

What the proposal means

From 22 November 2020, planning permission will be needed before a single-family dwelling house can be converted into a small HMO within the urban areas of Bedford and Kempston (please see the map below showing the exact boundary).

Why this change is being proposed

We want to better manage the impact of small HMOs in Bedford and Kempston.

More information about the proposal

You can download a copy of the Article 4(1) Direction, including a map defining the area and associated documents, using the link below.


You can view hard copies of these documents at the Council's Customer Service Centre, 2 Horne Lane, Bedford between the hours of 8.45am and 5pm Monday to Thursday, 8.45am and 4.45pm Fridays.

Have your say

To comment on our proposal to introduce the Article 4(1) Direction, you can:

  • email:
  • write to: Ian Johnson, Manager for Heritage and Planning Compliance, Bedford Borough Council, Borough Hall, Bedford MK42 9AP