Council says enough is enough as HMO expansion refused

Cannon Street, Wisbech,

Cannon Street, Wisbech, where an HMO has been refused permission for nine people instead of six for which it is currently licensed. - Credit: Google

Planning committee chairman David Connor couldn’t contain his enthusiasm for his officers’ recommendation to stop a Wisbech house being turned into a nine-room house in multiple occupation (HMO). 

He told principal planning officer Sheila Black: “Having read your officers excellent report I agree with the decision to refuse the application.  

“So please issue the planning refusal notice by officer delegation as soon as possible”. 

The decision draws a line under the bid by a property developer to increase from six to nine the number of people living at 32d Cannon Street, Wisbech. 

Jane Pascoe, director of Halsbury Estates Ltd, had applied to increase occupancy at her registered HMO.  

She argued the house was capable of taking the extra numbers.  

Peter Humphrey Associates Ltd, on her behalf, argued that “facilities being provided are well in excess of requirements of minimum standards for HMOs.”  

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Fenland Council disagreed, despite Wisbech Town Council agreeing numbers could increase but adding they had concerns over “highway safety”.  

In their refusal notice the council says its policies set out to ensure that proposals “do not cause adverse harm” to neighbouring homes and that a high quality environmental for all was required 

The council said the lack of communal space would confine tenants to their bedrooms for “relaxation and leisure activities which would offer a limiting environment both in terms of space and sense of enclosure”.  

This was particularly important since “three of the bedrooms have less than 1.5 square metres over and above the specified minimum”. 

And planners didn’t like the idea of a small external yard - which also is a refuse storage area - being used by nine people. 

That, argued the council, “has the potential to create noise nuisance at various times of the day, resulting in a diminished residential amenity for neighbouring properties”. 

Planners also insisted the application was “clearly contrary” to council policies.  

And they noted that had the applicant worked “positively and proactively” with the council, it would have afforded an opportunity to overcome these problems.  

Fenland Council’s own private sector team also told their colleagues in planning they had no objections.  

Humphrey Associates claimed the facilities being provided “are well in excess of requirements of minimum standards for HMOs”.