Fenland Council ‘behaved unreasonably’ claims businessman as he launches appeal - and costs bid - over Wisbech HMO refusal

17 Leverington Road, Wisbech, has been bought by Guyhirn businessman Alan Samuels but local objectio

17 Leverington Road, Wisbech, has been bought by Guyhirn businessman Alan Samuels but local objections are frustrating his agent in a bid to win approval for a nine room HMO. PHOTO: Seb Pearce - Credit: Archant

Businessman Alan Samuels has alleged Fenland Council “behaved unreasonably” and caused him “unnecessary expense” in refusing his application to convert a £210,000 five bedroom house into a 9-bed house of multiple occupancy (HMO).

Smarting from the council’s decision to turn down his application for 17 Leverington Road, Wisbech, the Guyhirn businessman has tabled a 146 page appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.

He’s backed up his appeal – now being heard through written arguments and likely to be decided in the autumn- by tabling an application for Fenland Council to pick up his legal costs.

“The council has prevented or delayed development which should clearly be permitted,” he alleges.

He said the council’s refusal – supported by the town council – denied much needed, high quality and yet affordable housing in a highly sustainable location.

He argued there were plenty of parking (one early objection) and the council’s assertion of there being “low level domestic facilities”.

This, retorted by Mr Samuels, is a “vague, generalised or inaccurate assertion about the proposal which is unsupported by an objective analysis”.

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He said: “Comments made by members at the committee betray an objection in principle to HMO accommodation which may have influenced their decision. Neither the council’s planning nor did housing officer feel that the proposed accommodation was in any way inadequate.”

He said the council had failed to understand that as a matter of common sense HMOs were in accessible location that give rises to a lower level of demand for parking.

Mr Samuels also claimed the council had failed to determine similar cases in a consistent manner.

He said comparable locations in Lynn Road, Wisbech, and Norwich Road, Wisbech, which were similar to his own site, had been approved. “It was unreasonable for the council to come to a different decision in relation to my proposed development,” he said.

Nick Harding, head of planning, said in a decision notice sent to Mr Samuels that there were “unacceptable levels of amenity” at the house and would neither promote nor help with healthy living.

He also said parking was an issued and could have adverse affects on the area.