The inspector recognised that the pub, which had been vacant for two years and had become a focus of anti-social activity, detracted from the character of a mixed-use area. The council feared that transitory occupants in the 12-bed HMO proposed would contribute little to community cohesion and could generate anti-social behaviour. The inspector held that these concerns were ill-founded.
He noted that the length of tenancies is not a land-use planning consideration and saw no substantive evidence to explain why occupiers would not contribute to community cohesion. He also dismissed representations from the local police about other HMO accommodation elsewhere, seeing no direct correlation with the current proposal. Indeed, he concluded that the new use would displace some current adverse impacts associated with the neglected site and increase community surveillance and resilience overall.
Inspector: Robert Hitchcock; Written representations