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Plans submitted to create new five-bedroom HMO in Connah’s Quay

Plans have been submitted which could see a three-bedroom house in Flintshire converted into five bedsits.

The application would see the use of the property on Howard Street in Connahs Quay change to become a house in multiple occupation (HMO).

A letter submitted on behalf of the landlord states the proposals have been put forward due to the need for small housing units in the area.

Although concerns have previously been raised in Flintshire regarding the impact of HMOs, planning consultant Adrian Thompson said the development would make “efficient use” of the house.

He said: “The change in use safeguards the living conditions of neighbours and the character of the area.

“Granting permission will not lead to proliferation of HMOs in the area, because this is the only known HMO on Howard Street, and the nearest known HMOs are on another street. It is a semi-detached property.

“The original internal layout has been retained, with the first floor as it was and on the ground floor the lounge and sitting room re-purposed as bedrooms.

“The ground floor retains the kitchen, dining room, a downstairs toilet and a shower room.”
Questions have been raised in the past by councillors regarding the living standards provided to tenants in HMOs.

According to the documents, the smallest bedroom at the property measures 8.2 square metres, which is below the amount suggested by Flintshire Council in an advice note to developers.

But as the guidance has yet to be adopted formally, Mr Thompson said the indication that living quarters should measure at least ten square metres would carry little weight.

Comments are currently being invited on the application via the local authority’s website.
Planning officials are aiming to make a decision towards the end of June, but timescales are currently delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

By Liam Randall

Source: Deeside

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Plans for seven-bedroom HMO in Broughton backed for approval despite widespread opposition

Plans to turn a family home into a seven-bedroom House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) have been backed for approval despite widespread opposition.

About 50 objections have been submitted against proposals to convert the current three-bedroom property on Larne Drive in Broughton.

It comes amid concerns from residents that it would have a negative impact on the neighbourhood and lead to parking problems.

Broughton Community Council and local councillor Billy Mullin have also voiced strong criticism.

However, the application has been recommended to receive the green light by Flintshire Council’s chief planning officer.

In a report set to go before councillors next week, Andrew Farrow said the scheme was acceptable because it was in a residential area.

He said: “The dwelling is located within a row of similar properties upon a modern residential estate.

“Given the above, it is considered that the built nature of the proposal will not have a significant detrimental impact upon the character and appearance of the existing dwelling or streetscene in which it is located.

“There is a concern that the increased residential use of the HMO, would leave to an increase in the parking requirements above what would reasonably expected of a private dwelling.

“The proposed parking provision submitted shows the front of the property will accommodate three cars clear of the highway.

“A condition is imposed to ensure that the parking provision is provided and maintained on site, in perpetuity.”

It’s not the first time plans for a HMO in Broughton have caused controversy.

In December 2018, proposals to create bedsits on Gladstone Road were approved on appeal, despite originally being refused by the local authority following a protest by neighbours.

Worries have been raised that the latest scheme could lead to a rise in anti-social behaviour, but Mr Farrow said such claims had not been proven.

He said: “Concerns have been expressed that the proposals would cause noise/disturbance with the extensions also adversely affecting light and privacy upon existing neighbouring occupiers.
“Some of these concerns and fears relate to the future occupants of the development.

“Concerns that tenants could cause these problems are not unique to HMOs and there is no evidence to substantiate this is the case.

“Anti-social behaviour could equally apply to other forms of residential occupation.

“It is considered that all of the matters in the consideration of this proposal are acceptable and that planning permission should be granted.”

Proposals to extend the property to provide extra accommodation were approved in October last year.

The most recent application will be discussed at a meeting of the council’s planning committee at County Hall in Mold on Wednesday.

By Liam Randall

Source: Deeside

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Plans to turn Wrexham family home into HMO approved on appeal

Plans to turn a family home on the edge of Wrexham town centre into a house in multiple occupation (HMO) have been approved on appeal.

Councillors originally rejected proposals to convert the house on Salop Road into five bedsits in September because of the large number of similar properties nearby.

They said it would breach council guidelines which state the maximum amount of HMOs allowed within a 50 metre radius of any given location should be no more than ten per cent.

Permitting the application would have increased the concentration of bedsits in the area to 16 per cent.

However, their decision has now been overturned by an inspector appointed by the Welsh Government following a successful appeal.

In a report, Hywel Wyn Jones said he could find no proof of the planning committee’s claims that the scheme would have a negative social impact.

He said: “There is no substantive evidence before me to indicate that the existing presence of HMOs in this mixed-use part of the town is causing an over concentration that is affecting the social fabric or residential amenity of the community, nor that the scheme would be likely to create such problems.

“My visit did not reveal any of the physical manifestations that can arise from such developments, such as high numbers of letting signs, unkempt frontages, or household waste strewn along the street.

“As the ten per cent threshold is one provided in guidance to assist decision makers, it should not be slavishly followed as though it were an absolute limit.

“The mixed-use character of this edge of town centre location reinforces my view in this respect.

“Thus, on this main issue I conclude that the proposed use would not be harmful to the social fabric or residential amenity of the host community.”

The plans were also refused on the grounds it would cause an increase in demand for parking on the street, adding to existing problems.

While Mr Wyn Jones acknowledged there was pressure on the amount of spaces, he concluded the scheme would not give rise to an additional demand.

He added: “None of the matters raised in objection to the scheme lead me away from finding that it is acceptable.

“I shall therefore allow the appeal subject to the conditions suggested by the council and one to deal with cycle storage.”

By Liam Randall

Source: Wrexham

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Armley Park Road HMO application withdrawn

An application to convert a four-bedroomed house in Armley Park Road into a six-bedroomed house of multiple occupation (HMO) has been withdrawn, writes Keely Bannister.

According to a notice issued by Leeds City Council, the application was withdrawn following an e-mail from Michael Sunderland from DMS Architecture Ltd, who is the development’s agent.

Details of the e-mail has not been made publicly available.

Mr Carpenter lodged the application with Leeds City Council in July, with the notice to withdraw being placed in December.

The proposed development would have involved the lowering of the properties basement floor and the conversion of this space from storage into a living room and en-suite bedroom.

The ground floor living room would also have been converted into a bedroom.

As reported previously in The Dispatch, objections were lodged against the application with other residents on the street stating that the property was being “kept in a state of disrepair” and that the road is “already packed full of cars” which “packing in more renting tenants” wouldn’t improve.

Consultation was sought from the Canal and River Trust, who had no comment to make and the council’s Highways Team, who had no objection to the application, subject to a number of conditions around cycle and bin storage being met.

Source: West Leeds Dispatch

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Bid to turn Wrexham town centre house into HMO refused over parking issues

A bid to create a house in multiple occupation (HMO) near Wrexham town centre has been thrown out because of fears it will added to parking issues.

Proposals to turn a three-bedroom house on Oxford Street, which is close to Eagles Meadow shopping centre, into five bedsits were originally submitted in October.

Objections were raised ahead of the application being considered by councillors on Monday as a result of the lack of parking spaces on the road.

Local councillor Adrienne Jeorrett said the situation had become so bad that one resident who lives on the street was forced to return their disability car.

Addressing Wrexham Council’s planning committee, she said: “Whilst I accept the need for low cost housing, it’s a great disappointment to me that in 2019 adults are having to live in one room with a long term impact on health and wellbeing.

“In Oxford Street and the surrounding roads parking is a major problem for residents. This proposed HMO will add to that problem.

“To say that Oxford Street is near town does not mean that residents work in town.

“It does not mean that someone does not need a car, especially if they work somewhere where public transport no longer reaches.

“One resident in this street has already had to send back a disability car because they couldn’t park in the street.”

The local authority’s chief planning officer had recommended the scheme should be given the go ahead.

In a report, Lawrence Isted disputed claims that it would make the parking situation worse as the property was located close to the town’s bus and railway stations.

But the council’s highways department backed refusal because of the “significant” demand for parking in the area.

Highway development control engineer Peter Douthwaite said: “We’ve looked at it and the proposal is deemed to be increasing the level of parking requirement in an area already suffering from parking problems.

“We think it should be refused due to lack of parking provision.”

Councillors unanimously voted to reject the proposals at the end of the debate.

By Liam Randall

Source: Wrexham

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Landlord Company Fined For State Of Rental Property

A landlord company based in Ripley has been fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs as a result of the poor state of a rental property in Kirkby that is owned by the company.

In a visit to the Kirkby rental property, deemed an HMO (house of multiple occupation) by Mansfield District Council officers on April 1st, they found ‘inadequate’ fire doors that were blocked, an ‘unfinished’ wall in a ground floor bedroom, an electricity meter in a bedroom, and damaged windows that wouldn’t close properly.

In a hearing at Mansfield Magistrates Court on October 23rd, John Cotton admitted the three breaches of regulations, on behalf of his landlord company, JP Cotton, which is registered to Devonshire Avenue, Ripley.

Helen Lees, speaking on behalf of the landlord company, said it was ‘a difficult situation with difficult tenants and it was very difficult to turn a profit’.

Confirming that it was not a large corporate landlord company, she said: ‘This is a company which accepts its standards have slipped. It has operated with one property for a long time. Mr Cotton, or the landlord company, would like to sell it.’

The court also heard that the property is now being rented to a single family and is no longer a house of multiple occupation (HMO), and therefore no longer subject to the same strict regulations.

However, district judge at Mansfield Magistrates Court, Jonathan Taaffe said: ‘This landlord company has a responsibility under its statutory obligations.

‘It’s clear, notwithstanding the difficulties of the types of tenants who were in this property, these obligations weren’t met.’

The landlord company, JP Cotton Ltd, was fined £6,000 for the three breaches of regulations, and t was also ordered to pay £2,235 in costs and a £171 government surcharge, which must be paid by April 2020.

Source: Residential Landlord

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Plans to increase capacity of HMO refused amid parking and litter concerns

Plans to increase the capacity of a house in multiple occupation (HMO) on the outskirts of Wrexham town centre have been rejected because of concerns over parking and litter.

An application was entered in May to increase the amount of residents able to live at a property on Beechley Road in Hightown from six to eight.

It came as owner Andrew Shield said he wanted to allow couples to live in two of the rooms to meet the demand for accommodation in the area.

The scheme was given the backing of Wrexham Council’s chief planning officer ahead of a meeting on Monday to decide the plans.

However, members of the local authority’s planning committee refused permission after being told about the lack of parking and issues with overspilling bins on the street, which is already home to several HMOs.

Speaking at Wrexham’s Guildhall, local councillor Graham Rogers said: “The proposed development would result in an over-concentration to the detriment of the social fabric of the area.

“Beechley Road currently has six HMOs within a 50-metre radius, and I consider the likelihood that the proposed suggestion to increase from six to eight occupants will result in an increase in parking demands.

“For those reasons I am requesting that the approval be refused for the proposed development, which does not make adequate provision for the parking of vehicles.

“The current HMO on Beechley Road carries an increase in the amount of refuse with bins being overused, resulting in litter over spilling onto the footpaths and carriageway. On most weekends I’m having to clear litter with the aid of the community payback team.”

Members of the Beechley Road Residents’ Association also wrote to planning committee members to highlight issues with noise from the HMO properties.

It came after they previously campaigned against a separate bedsit application on the same street.

The latest scheme was recommended for approval by the council’s chief planning officer, who said it was unlikely to lead to an increased demand for parking spaces.

In his report Lawrence Isted said: “I have considered the concerns of the residents in regard to parking and noise nuisance.

“With regard to parking, I appreciate that there are a significant number of vehicles that park on the carriageway with no provision for parking on site.

“Highways have no objections to the proposed development on the grounds that the proposed development is unlikely to result in parking demand compared with its current residential use.

“Noise nuisance can be addressed by public protection.”

Despite his recommendation, councillors chose to refuse permission because of the impact on parking with 15 votes against the plans and two abstentions.

By Liam Randall

Source: Wrexham

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Council to launch public consultation on HMO licensing scheme in Worcester

COUNCILLORS will “consider options” on proposals to amend an HMO licensing scheme for Worcester City.

At a communities committee meeting on October 30, city councillors in Worcester discussed a proposal to approve a 12-week public consultation to extend the HMO scheme in the city.

There are currently HMOs in every ward in Worcester with the exception of St Peter’s, and the licensing scheme would aim to crack down on rogue landlords and improve standards.

Councillors discussed applying the scheme to the parts of Worcester where it was more necessary and where there were more HMOs, but Cllr Richard Udall said the scheme needed to be enforced across the whole city, saying: “I am a bit shocked and surprised at what is being said here. More regulation means more protection. Lowering standards is an invitation to rogue landlords to come into areas where there is no protection.”

The Worcester City Additional Licensing Scheme runs for five years, at the end of which the Council is required to review the scheme with a view to re-designation or discontinuation.

Property standards in HMOs can often be lower than other rented properties due to poor conversions of older properties, more than one household living independently of each other, regular turn over of occupiers and in some cases poor management by the landlord.

The aim of licensing is to ensure these properties meet the legal standards and are properly managed to provide greater protection to the health, safety and welfare of the people living there.

According to the city council’s report: “The implications of moving to an Additional Licensing scheme which is targeted at specific wards would be that City-wide improvements to private housing would not be sustained but that instead a targeted approach could be taken to problem areas.”

The committee agreed to send out the consultation and amended the reports recommendations so that they will make the final decision on whether to declare the scheme, rather than the corporate director for homes and communities along with the chair and vice char of the committee.

In March 2015, Worcester City Council’s cabinet approved an Additional HMO Licensing scheme for the whole City, which came into effect later that year. Accreditation of HMOs had previously been in place but because it was a voluntary scheme, it was not taken up by the majority of landlords.

By Tom Banner

Source: Hereford Times

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Objections To Turn Former Scarborough Care Home Into HMO

A proposal to turn a former care home in Scarborough into a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) has provoked reaction from local residents.

More than 70 people have objected to plans from Artz Ltd to convert Harewood House at 47 West Street into a property to house up to 30 people.

The objectors are concerned about the number of HMOs in the area and also about the increase in parking and traffic it could bring.

Fantasia Leisure Ltd, which would manage the HMO if it were to be granted permission, says in its supporting information that overseas workers would be housed in the building.

It adds:

“Fantasia currently is inundated with inquiries for working people from overseas looking for accommodation in Scarborough.”

The company added that it had recently been asked if it could find accommodation for 200 workers in the area.

A number of the objectors, in their letters to the council, bring up the case of the Breece, a former hotel in West Street that later became an HMO.

In 2014 a court ordered the closure of the Breece following more than 50 anti-social behavior complaints and allegations of stabbings and rape at the premises.

One objector wrote:

“The Breece was a sizeable HMO and subsequent amendments were made to the relevant section of the Local Plan to provide powers to restrict the size of HMOs and control their location to avoid ‘clustering’.

It was deemed appropriate that the maximum number [of occupants] should be 10. The proposed number of occupants for Harewood House greatly exceeds this number.

Furthermore, such a development would greatly increase the number of HMO buildings and occupants in this area. The proposed site is close to three existing HMOs, the largest of which has made an application to significantly increase its numbers.”

Scarborough Civic Society has also objected to the plans, saying that, if granted, the number of tenants in HMOs in the area would double. It adds that it would also detract from the character of the Conservation Area.

The Harewood House care home closed in 2017 and despite two auctions being held no buyer has yet been found to take over the property.

By Carl Gavaghan

Source: Yorkshire Coast Radio

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Appeal launched over refusal of plans to increase rooms at Wrexham HMO

An appeal has been launched after a bid to increase the number of bedrooms at a house in multiple occupation (HMO) near Wrexham town centre was turned down.

Landlord Arran Pritchard applied to Wrexham Council in January to up the amount of bedrooms at a property on Poplar Road from six to seven.

However, the local authority issued a decision to reject the proposals after planning officers said there were not enough parking spaces outside.

Mr Pritchard has now submitted an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate in an attempt to have the outcome overturned.

In documents entered to support his case, he claimed most people living in HMOs don’t own a car, meaning the small increase would not cause a problem.

Highlighting a survey of the number of vehicles owned by tenants across the 23 properties he lets in the town, he said: “Here attached are two “vehicles per room” assessments, conducted in September 2015 and May 2016.

“They show that for 146 rooms/ occupants, there are just 17 to 25 occupants with vehicles, or one vehicle for every five rooms.

“This is largely due to all the rooms being in the town centre and tenants generally not being able to afford a vehicle.

“The planning application is to increase the number of rooms by the minimum possible, from six rooms to seven rooms. A comparable planning application, refusal, and successful appeal is the planning case for 33 Park Street, Wrexham.”

Mr Pritchard previously attempted to increase the total number of bedrooms at the property to eight but permission was denied on similar grounds.

Despite appealing the decision on the original application, a planning inspector appointed by the Welsh Government agreed with the council’s views.

In her decision notice, Siân Worden said she felt the proposals would impact on the safety of drivers at a busy junction.

She said: “The appeal property is in a busy area where there are widespread parking restrictions and many of the dwellings do not have off-street parking. There thus appears to be a high demand for on-street spaces.

“The proposed development would result in a small increase in the number of vehicles requiring parking spaces in the vicinity.

“Even so, it would increase the hazard on the local road network, and reduce its efficient use, by resulting in more drivers searching for a parking space.”

Mr Pritchard’s latest appeal will considered at a future date.

By Liam Randall

Source: Wrexham