HMOs allowed in street with fifty per cent existing concentration

Two houses in multiple occupation from two apartments in a residential area of Swansea were approved with no conflict with adopted local plan policy which aimed to secure and maintain safe and sustainable communities.

The appellant sought to create two separate HMOs, one five-bedroom unit for five students, the other a six-bedroom unit for six students. The council had produced supplementary guidance on the consideration of HMOs to support adopted plan policy, but this had not yet been adopted and so the inspector could afford it only limited weight, although he did feel it provided useful evidential background.

The council's HMO register indicated that there were 77 HMOs in the street which equated to 50 per cent of the properties. The appeal proposal would increase that concentration by only 1.4 per cent. On this basis, the inspector held the scheme would appear to comply with the council’s policy criteria and not result in a harmful concentration of HMOs in the area. Additionally, the property was detached and well set back from the road and would not affect adjoining residential amenity and more than the existing seven residents at the property. There were no highway objections to the scheme and the inspector could see no indications that any social, physical or community infrastructure in the area would be threatened by the proposal. He came to the conclusion, in agreement with council’s officers in the case, that the proposal would not result in any harm.

An award of costs against the council was refused, the inspector considering that the council members had not acted unreasonably in reaching a different decision from their officers’ recommendation.

Inspector: Anthony Thickett; Written representations

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