Town councillor told he must get planning permission to use Three Tuns public house, Wisbech, for 'House in Multiple Occupation'

PUBLISHED: 09:37 02 October 2015 | UPDATED: 09:37 02 October 2015

Aigars Balsevics, Wisbech Cllr for Hill and Staithe. Picture: Steve Williams.

Aigars Balsevics, Wisbech Cllr for Hill and Staithe. Picture: Steve Williams.

Archant

A planning officer has given a recently elected town councillor 28 days "to dispute my findings" after investigating a complaint about the numbers living above one of his public houses.

Councillor Aigars Balsevics, who won the Staithe ward by election for Wisbech Town Council in August, runs three Elgood’s pubs, the Three Tuns, King’s Head and the Angel.

The complaint centres on the Three Tuns, a 165 year-old pub on Norwich Road.

A spokesman for Elgood’s said: “I can confirm that the Three Tuns has received notification regarding applying to become an HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) and that we are aware of this.

“However everything at the premises is above board and being handled correctly and we don’t believe there will be a problem.”

Lucinda Lee is a planning officer with Fenland Council and part of the Operation Pheasant team that looks at housing issues among migrant workers in the town.

It is an umbrella partnership made up of Fenland District Council, the police, the Home Office, the Gangmaster Licensing Authority, HM Revenue and Customs , the Department for Work and Pensions, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue and the UK Human Trafficking Centre.

Ms Lee said the complaint was received on September 2 “and has now been assessed and investigated accordingly.

“A letter has been sent to the freeholders and the leaseholder with my views on the matter. They have been granted 28 days from the receipt of the letter to dispute my findings.”

She added that following her investigation she can confirm “that a formal planning application has been invited by the council to remedy the alleged breach of planning control.

“The application should be submitted by October 30.”

An accompanying leaflet – outlining the council’s policy and sent to the complainant -explains how issues like this are dealt with,

“Normally breaches of planning control are settled by negotiation and compromise agreements and no formal action becomes necessary,” it says.

In his election address, Cllr Balsevics explained how he moved to England 10 years ago to start a new life.

He can speak four languages including fluent English and is acknowledged as being a leading figure in helping Eastern Europeans integrate into the town.

*Fenland Council is also considering a retrospective change of use for an HMO at 41 Ramnoth Road, Wisbech.

Fenland District Councillor Sam Hoy said: “I am very concerned at this as there are several parking problems on Ramnoth Road and this HMO has the potential to have six cars.

Fellow district councillor Virginia Bucknor said she and her colleagues had been “liaising closely” with Fenland Council for almost five years about houses in multiple occupation.

She said the council “usually act within two to three days and they advise us promptly of their results; I have found them extremely efficient.”

* Full story on Ramnoth Road HMO: Page

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