Wisbech publican and town councillor submits applications to regularise use of one of his pubs for multiple occupancy by tenants
PUBLISHED: 16:19 26 April 2016 | UPDATED: 16:20 26 April 2016
Pub landlord and town councillor Aigars Balsevics has put in two applications to planners to regularise the use of one of his pubs for multiple occupancy.
His agent has told Fenland District Council the first floor of the Three Tuns in Norwich Road, Wisbech, is already in use as a HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) but he understands planning consent is required.
Nick Seaton of Anglia Building Consultants says to continue to use the pub as a HMO a separate entrance and exit are required.
Mr Seaton, on behalf of Cllr Balsevics, says this can be achieved by carrying out internal alterations with a new door leading onto the flat roof.
He says design proposals “demonstrate how Anglia Building Consultants has addressed important guidelines from Fenland District Council and Government design criteria as well as the impact of the proposed development on the surrounding area”.
“The first floor of the Three Tuns public house is already in use as a HMO. Planning enforcement has however advised that planning permission was required for the work,” he said.
The Elgoods owned pub has four bedrooms and a bathroom on the first floor.
“Occupiers of the HMO currently access the first floor via the rear access to the public house and also use the public house’s kitchen at ground floor level,” says Mr Seaton.
Cllr Balsevics plans to install an external stair for separate access to the first floor. The larger bedroom is to be split in order to provide a shared kitchen at first floor level.
The applications were discussed by the planning committee of Wisbech Town Council on Monday.
Councillors were told the pub is a grade II listed building from the early 19th century.
Last October a planning officer gave Cllr Balsevics 28 days “to dispute my findings” after investigating a complaint about the numbers living above the Three Tuns.
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 about the Three Tuns 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.
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.”