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Plan to convert Worcester B&B into 13-bed HMO looks set to be approved

A PLAN to convert a city bed and breakfast into a 13-bed house of multiple occupation (HMO) looks set to be approved.

The application would see Wyatt Guest House in Barbourne Road transformed into the apartments with a number of shared facilities.

The guest house, which sits in the Shrubbery Avenue conservation area and is designated as being within an archaeologically sensitive area, is split over four floors all of which are proposed to be converted.

Permission to demolish a conservatory at the back of the eight bedroom B&B to make way for two studio apartments, three flats and a town house was approved in March 2018.

The demolition and extension would work still go ahead if Worcester City Council’s planning committee goes along with its planning department and approves the plan at a meeting on Thursday (May 23).

The building has been up for sale since April 2015. The B&B owners wanted to sell the building to a developer to carry out the work but it gathered little interest resulting in the request to convert the building into a HMO.

The new plan shows 13 bedrooms each with an en-suite with a shared kitchen and a shared communal area.

Three bedrooms spread across the extension would share another kitchen and communal area.

According to council planners, approving the application would push the percentage of homes within a 100 metre radius up to 9.5 per cent.

The council’s planning policy on HMOs allows for no more than ten per cent of homes within a 100 metre radius to be classed as HMOs.

Council planners were also satisfied the other HMO policies – which ensures no more than two adjacent properties are HMOs and supports applications for HMOs unless it has a negative effect on parking, results in insufficient space for waste and recycling or is out-of-keeping with the character of the area – were not broken.

Neighbours were incorrectly told by the council the new HMO would be breaking the ten per cent threshold because of a miscalculation.

Neighbours were told of the mistake through a letter.

Council planners said the building being used as a more permanent residence rather than a temporary B&B would increase activity in the area.

The size of the HMO would usually require at least four parking spaces but planners have accepted the lack of parking due to its close location to the city centre.

By Christian Barnett

Source: Hereford Times

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Planning inspector overrules council on seven shared houses in Brighton

Neighbours objected and the council said no – but seven more Brighton properties can be used as shared houses after planning permission was granted on appeal.

All seven are in wards where Brighton and Hove City Council restricts the conversion of family homes into houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

And all seven are in wards where thousands of students live and where there have been tensions between existing residents and younger temporary tenants.

The properties are in Ashurst Road, Brading Road, Coldean Lane, Hartington Road, Park Road, Richmond Street and Stanmer Villas.

The owners were refused planning permission by the council or served with enforcement notices and each appealed, with government-appointed planning inspectors upholding their appeals.

Neighbours sent 28 objections to the council when Co-Living Spaces, the owner of 57 Richmond Street, Brighton, proposed converting a family home into a shared house for six people.

The plans, which included changes to the roof space, prompted concerns about increased noise, strains on parking and the loss of another family home in Queen’s Park ward.

Planning inspector Janette Davis said that objections to the roof dormer were “not relevant”.

She said: “Some local residents have raised concern regarding potential noise and disturbance from both within and outside the building.

“Although the change of use to a HMO would be likely to intensify the occupancy and use of the building, with up to six occupiers this would not be of a level which would be over and above that expected within a residential area.”

More than a dozen neighbours objected to David Symons’s plans to turn a four-bedroom end-of-terrace house at 114 Stanmer Villas into a six-bedroom property.

The council said that the property, near Fiveways, did not have enough communal space but planning inspector Tim Crouch said: “I saw on my site visit that the open plan communal kitchen and living space is light and open, with internal access from the corner.

“There is sufficient space to circulate and for occupants to find some personal space.”

He said that he appreciated the concerns but there was no “substantive evidence” to cause him to come to a different conclusion.

Two other appeals in the same ward – Hollingdean and Stanmer – related to enforcement notices. One was for a house at 27 Coldean Lane where 11 neighbours had opposed an application to change it from a five-bedroom property to one with seven bedrooms.

Changes to the roof and the addition of a rear dormer prompted officials to issue an enforcement notice but it was quashed on appeal.

And a similar notice was quashed for 31 Park Road, also in Coldean, where a roof dormer had been built and a family home was turned into a shared house.

In Hanover and Elm Grove ward an enforcement notice served on the owner of a seven-bedroom shared house at 84 Brading Road was quashed by planning inspector David Hainsworth.

The council had refused to grant planning permission for changes to the property, saying that it was cramped because of the subdivisions to existing rooms.

And, the council said, the changes “failed to support a mixed and balanced community” as there were already a significant number of HMOs in the area.

Neighbours sent 13 letters of objection to the planning application.

The owner Mark Shields appealed against the council’s decision. He said that the house had not been a family home for at least 20 years and the HMO had had a licence since April 2009 without planning permission.

The planning inspector said that the increase in activity would “not have a noticeable impact” on the community.

The council said that a single-storey rear extension and a dormer and windows in the roof of 55 Hartington Road were “facilitating” an unauthorised change of use from a three-bedroom to six-bedroom HMO to more than seven bedrooms.

The owner Andrew Marchant succeeded in his appeal against an enforcement notice.

Planning inspector Sandra Prail said: “I have considered the evidence before me as to the sequence of events.

“It shows that the use of the site as a large HMO has ceased. The works are therefore not currently facilitating (HMO use) and I am not satisfied that the works were part of parcel of the previous HMO use.”

Directors of another property owner, Rivers Birtwell, run by Oliver Dorman and George Birtwell, lodged two appeals in relation to a house at 20 Ashurst Road in Moulsecoomb.

The first appeal was against an enforcement notice which alleged that a family home had been turned into a nine-bedroom shared house without planning permission.

The council said that the unauthorised changes included building work in the roof to enable a loft conversion including a rear dormer.

The second appeal was against the council’s refusal to grant a certificate of lawfulness for the roof extension.

Planning permission was granted for a seven-bedroom shared house in 2013, shortly after the council tightened up the rules using a policy known as an “article four direction”.

The tougher regime restricts the number of shared houses in an area and can mean fewer rights to make small-scale changes without planning permission.

But planning inspector Victor Ammoun allowed the changes and said: “The change from seven to nine bedrooms is a significant proportionate increase but I consider that it has not altered the perceived character of the use.

“The physical changes to the roof complied with … size and form requirements and thus were within the range of changes potentially normal within the nearby similar houses.”

By: Sarah Booker-Lewis

Source: Brighton and Hove News