Controversial HMO plans to go ahead after developer wins appeal against Hartlepool Borough Council decision

Controversial plans for an eight-bedroomed house of multiple occupation in Hartlepool, which were refused by the council, have been allowed on appeal.

Friday, 27th December 2019, 10:56 am
Updated Sunday, 29th December 2019, 10:25 pm

Earlier this year Hartlepool Borough Council Planning Committee unanimously turned down the proposals to convert a property in Park Road into an eight bedroom house in multiple occupation (HMO).

HMOs are properties such as a house split into separate bedsits, a shared house/flat or a hostel.

In total 17 objections were raised to the proposals for the site, which was an existing six bedroom HMO, submitted by applicant Saeed Khalid, raising issues such as traffic, parking and crime concerns.

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The planning notice for the HMO on display

However an appeal was lodged with the national Planning Inspectorate by the applicant over the decision to refuse the development planning permission in a bid to get the ruling overturned.

It has now been confirmed the Planning Inspectorate, the government agency responsible for appeals, allowed the appeal and planning permission has been granted for the development.

A report from inspector Adrian Caines explained he thought there was not enough evidence to support the council’s reasons for refusal.

It said: “The development would not be harmful to the character and appearance of the surrounding area.

A planning inspector decided in favour of the development

“Whilst I appreciate that local residents may have genuine concerns about the fear of crime, there is no substantive evidence before me that establishes a link between the use of the appeal site and increased crime and anti-social behaviour.

“I have not been presented with any firm evidence that parking pressure is at a level where there would not be a capacity through local on-street parking for the modest parking needs that might be generated by the development.

“Having taken into consideration all matters raised, I conclude that the appeal should be allowed.”

The plans were refused by the council for a lack of car parking impacting highway and pedestrian safety, fears it would lead to a rise in crime, a detrimental impact on the character of the area, and unacceptable level of noise and disturbance.

The planning notice for the HMO on display

Planning documents by ASP Associates, on behalf of applicant Saeed Khalid when the plans were submitted, said proposals would ‘enhance the area’ and could create ‘up to 40 jobs in refurbishing the site’.

Burn Valley ward Councillors Ged Hall, Dave Hunter and John Lauderdale all endorsed concerns raised by residents and objected to the plans, speaking out at the planning meeting in May when the decision was made.

Speaking at the time, Coun Hunter said: “There is no evidence to suggest anywhere that a HMO or similar will enhance the area, but there is massive evidence to suggest that it brings down prices of property and causes issues for residents.

“In terms of it creating 40 jobs, that is very unlikely, the owner is very vague on what type of residents will use the property, and that is a concern for me.”