Liverpool tightens coliving planning criteria

UK: Liverpool City Council has said that coliving developments must adhere to residential policies set out in its newly adopted local plan, including minimum space standards.

The council signed off a planning advice note last week aimed at informing developers of the authority’s stance on coliving when it comes to determining planning applications. The idea behind the advice note is to ensure the delivery of high-quality residential development in the city, the council said.

In planning terms, coliving is designated as sui generis, which means it does not fall within a particular use class. This can present difficulties for developers in their attempts to convince planning authorities of the viability and suitability of the product.

Some developers have called for coliving to be given its own use class in order to better define the product and give local authorities greater confidence in the model.

Liverpool City Council has decided to view coliving in the same way as private rented apartments. The authority says this is to “ensure quality residential accommodation for future occupants”. It believes that, as coliving is a type of housing, proposals should comply with the relevant housing policies in the local plan.

The planning advice note on coliving in the city sets out that developments should:
• Have more two-bedroom apartments then one-bedroom apartments
• Adhere to nationally described minimum space standards of between 398 square feet and 753 square feet
• Offer leases no shorter than six months
• Be flexible, with the ability to be converted into traditional accommodation easily.

In January, the city council rejected Crosslane Group’s plans to redevelop the former Bogans Carpet site on New Bird Street in the Baltic Triangle into a 370-unit coliving scheme.

Councillors said the number of single-occupancy units was too high and that 192 of the apartments did not comply with nationally described space standards.

However, a planning statement submitted alongside Crosslane’s application said coliving bedrooms are “not designed to function as self-contained homes”, due to differences in layout and tenancy, and therefore minimum space standards “are not applicable to the scheme”.

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