11 into 4 simply won’t work says Fenland council as they reject multiple occupancy for £150,000 Wisbech Victorian semi
- Credit: Archant
Plans to house 11 people in a 4-bedroom house in Wisbech have been blocked by Fenland District Council.
The council refused to allow the use of 86 Lynn Road for multiple occupancy (HMO) even though the proposal won the support of Wisbech Town Council.
The £150,000 Victorian house was sold last year to Daryl Long who countered criticism by planners of there only being four spaces for cars.
“The location is close to the town centre and tenants walk to town,” he said. “They also don’t have money to buy and maintain cars. They generally walk to where they get a bus to their employment.”
Mr Long told Fenland Council: “I operate a licensed HMO in Norwich Road for up to 13 people and none of the tenants own a car as it is not needed or affordable for them.”
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He added: “I am happy to build a purpose built cycle rack.”
But his plan for Lynn Road was not warmly received by neighbours, with some insisting that Mr Long’s description of it as a five-bedroom house was wrong.
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“Planning for seven bedrooms with the potential of 14 adults living there seems to me far too much,” said one.
He added his concern for the Bowthorpe conservation area becoming “a haven for HMOs” noting one backed onto his home in Townshend Road.
Another resident said they had lived nearby for 30 years and said the numbers that could potentially live at 86 Lynn Road was too high. Allowing another HMO would degrade the area.
Council officials pointed out that the conversion would mean the house being divided into four double rooms and three single rooms. The proposal would have a “consequential impact” on the conservation area. They said the applicant had failed to justify the need for this scheme.
With regard to occupants not being able to afford a car, their report noted it was “anecdotal research” only and not based on documented evidence.
The application twice went before Wisbech Town Council who concluded changes made from the original application “addressed the concerns” of members and supported it.
But in his ruling Fenland’s chief planning officer Nick Harding set out three reasons for refusal.
With a 45 per cent increase in overall occupancy and with the “dynamics of individual occupiers” with no family connections all living together it was intensity to an unacceptable level.
He pointed out the shortfall in parking and he also expressed concern about waste management.