Terraced houses in Wisbech given permission for EIGHT to live one side and NINE to live on the other side - with maybe one parking space

26 and 27 Alexandra Road, Wisbech, which have been given permission by Fenland District Council to r

26 and 27 Alexandra Road, Wisbech, which have been given permission by Fenland District Council to remain as HMOs. Picture; GOOGLE - Credit: Archant

`Seventeen people can now live in adjoining houses in Wisbech following a series of applications approved by Fenland District Council.

The terraced houses - at 26 and 27 Alexandra Road, Wisbech - have been subject to scrutiny over bids to ratify both as houses in multiple occupation (HMO).

Guy Wiffen has won consent for No 26 to increase from six to eight the number of people who can live there after opening talks with the council for 12 people to live there.

Next door, at No 27, Philip McGriskin amended his proposals after showing that it had been used as an HMO for a number of years. He now has permission to house nine people there.

"The minimum room size restriction imposed by the licensing regime would automatically restrict occupancy to a maximum of nine adults, four double rooms at ground level and first floor, and one single room at the first floor," concluded council officials.

His agents told the council that the building has been operating as a HMO since 2011 and previously had 11 people living there. With the changes in licensing law he applied for 11.

At No 26 Mr Wiffen tried for 12 people to live there but following talks with the council dropped it to eight residents.

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Wisbech Town Council objected to both applications claiming it would constitute over development and that no provision was offered for on-site parking.

Ward councillor Steve Tierney wrote in objecting to the licensing of 26 Alexandra Road.

"As the local member I'd like to challenge this application," he told the council. "There is a lack of parking and space for bins to support this many people in a single building on an already busy road.

"This seems like an excessive number for the size of this building."

However agents for Mr Wiffen told the council that 26 Alexandra Road had a long history of being a HMO, dating back to 2007.

Planners agree parking is a problem (No 26 has space for "at least one car") but the proximity of the town centre and a nearby public car park helps.

However officials pointed out that recent appeal decisions recognised that HMO tenants "have a low level of car ownership" and refusal on that grounds alone could not be sustained.