Councillors pull a health card and decide 16 people living in one Wisbech house is too many and fails to champion healthy living
PUBLISHED: 15:11 11 May 2017 | UPDATED: 15:11 11 May 2017
Councillors pulled a health card to prevent a £210,000 five bedroom house being converted to a 9-bed house of multiple occupancy (HMO) with the likelihood of 16 people living there.
Fenland Council Planning Committee says they are duty bound to consider the health and well being of residents and 17 Leverington Road, Wisbech, would provide “a low level of domestic facilities” for tenants.
“This would result in unacceptable levels of amenity for future occupies and would neither promote nor facilitate a healthy lifestyle,” summarised Nick Harding, head of planning, in his decision note.
He told Guyhirn businessman Alan Samuels who owns the house that the council was also worried about the significant level of car parking likely to occur within the grounds.
“The number of cars parked to the side and front of the property would form an incongruous and unattractive feature,” he said. It would adversely impact visually upon the appearance of the house and the wider street scene.
The committee’s decision is likely to be challenged on appeal since in his recommendation Mr Harding accepted the application complied with many council policies and recommended it for approval.
Mr Harding had advised councillors that in HMO cases the number of residents owning a car was traditionally low and on appeal inspectors have accepted demand be based on a common sense evaluation. Sometimes this has greatly reduced parking requirements.
Wisbech Town Council maintained their opposition to the conversion and said refurbishment of the house was preferred but not at any cost.
The owner’s agent Chris Walford told planners that a local letting agency, Regal of Bridge Street, had confirmed that less than 10 per cent of their tenants own cars and so parking was not an issue.
Mr Walford said: “It must also be noted that we have had other successful planning applications (some retrospective) for similar conversions on both Lynn Road and Norwich Road. All of these had nil off-road parking provision, all of which are a similar distance from the town centre to the application site”.
Neighbours signed a petition in a bid to prevent the house being turned into a HMO.