Agenda item

Application DM/2023/00797 - Change of use from C3 (dwelling) to sui generis (HMO - House in Multiple Occupation) for a maximum of 8 occupants. 2 Little Hervells Court, Chepstow, NP16 5FF


We considered the report of the application and late correspondence which was recommended for approval subject to the conditions outlined in the report.


The local Member for Mount Pleasant addressed the Committee via Video recording and outlined the following points:


·         This is a contentious application and is the fourth change of use application put forward by the applicant for neighbouring dwellings of houses of multiple occupancy (HMO) in an historic conservation area. The local Member and residents consider that this application is disproportionate.


·         The Council does not have a policy or supplementary guidance on multiple HMOs due to the small numbers across Monmouthshire.


·         HMOs are a model of tenure that is more akin to our inner-city areas, particularly with our universities.


·         Whilst there is no Monmouthshire County Council guidance, there is Welsh Government guidance which sets out the trends and associated challenges of HMOs within Welsh local authorities.


·         Problems associated with HMOs are damage to social cohesion with higher levels of transient residents and fewer long-term households and established families, reduction in the quality of the local environment and street scene, change of character in the area, increased pressure on parking and increases in anti-social behaviour. Antisocial behaviour has been a reality for neighbours living next to HMOs already in situ.


·         Local residents have been affected by noise from existing HMOs and the police have had to be called on several occasions regarding antisocial behaviour.


·         The guidance states that due to the nature of HMOs residents from vulnerable groups who are likely to be unrelated can find living in HMOs a more intensive experience than in single household uses. This may have an impact, not just on the residents in an HMO but on the wider neighbourhood and the likelihood of this increases with the high concentrations of such properties.


·         Welsh Government continues to encourage local authorities to move away from HMOs to more self-contained accommodation.


·         Strong objections to the application have been received from the Highways Department regarding highway safety, parking stress and the proliferation of HMOs in the vicinity. Parking stress already exists at this location.


·         The local Member considers that the developer has disregard for residents living in Hardwick Hill Lane and in Steep Street by seeking a further application for an HMO.


·         The local Member considers that the Planning Committee should consider refusal of the application as there are already three HMOs in this area and an additional HMO is not required as it was considered to be an unacceptable model for the Council.


Having considered the report and the views expressed, the following points were noted:


·         The HMO will be managed by Monmouthshire County Council.


·         HMOs are much needed within the Authority, but measures need to be established to reduce the potential for antisocial behaviour.


·         It was considered that Monmouthshire County Council should establish an HMO policy in line with current Welsh Government guidelines.


·         Consideration should be given to the provision of bicycle parking facilities on the site.


·         Concern was expressed regarding the density of HMOs in this area.


·         The Head of Planning informed the Committee that an HMO policy could be investigated as part of the Replacement Local Development Plan (RLDP).  However, in a Monmouthshire context, it was noted that generally, HMOs were not an issue.  Local Authorities with larger urban conurbations tend to have an HMO policy as there is a greater need for them within these authorities.


·         The Development Management Area Team Manager informed the Committee that only 33 people would occupy the four HMOs in this area if this application was approved. HMO guidance helps to deal with harm that is caused from high concentrations, e.g., universities, where buildings are occupied for term times and then unoccupied for holiday periods with local facilities no longer being accessed during this period.


·         The applicant would be willing to submit details of proposed bicycle storage facilities on site supporting the modal shift towards using public transport.


·         Monmouthshire County Council Housing Officers would manage this site. Similar sites managed by such officers are managed efficiently. It was noted that there is a family in need that has been identified to occupy this property.


It was proposed by County Councillor S. McConnel and seconded by County Councillor M. Powell that application DM/2023/00797 be approved subject to the conditions outlined in the report with an additional condition to ensure that a cycle storage area is provided prior to occupation.


Upon being put to the vote the following votes were recorded:


In favour of the proposal                 -           12

Against the proposal                       -           2

Abstentions                                       -           2


The proposition was carried.


We resolved that application DM/2023/00797 be approved subject to the conditions outlined in the report with an additional condition to ensure that a cycle storage area is provided prior to occupation.








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