TWO more Swansea properties will be converted into houses of multiple occupation (HMO), despite breaching concentration limits for these types of buildings.
Swansea Council had turned down applications to change a house in Wern Fawr Road, Port Tennant, and a flat in Brynymor Road, Brynmill, into six-bed and four-bed HMOs respectively.
This was on the grounds that doing so would exceed set levels of HMO concentrations.
These limits were formally adopted in Swansea’s local development plan this year to limit the spread of HMOs, which often accommodate students, in the city.
But the policy allows for exceptions and a Welsh Government-appointed planning inspector has decided that both schemes can go ahead.
The inspector, Penelope Davies, said the Wern Fawr Road application would only just exceed the 10% HMO threshold for Port Tennant, and that she saw very few physical signs of the apparent harm arising from HMOs when she visited the street.
Her decision report said: “From my own observations, the appeal property is part of a pleasant and maintained street scene where the existing concentration of HMOs is assimilated comfortably and unobtrusively within the predominantly residential environment.”
She has insisted that the six-bedroom HMO has two shower rooms, cycle racks and refuse storage, but was satisfied that sufficient communal space would be provided.
Meanwhile, the flat conversion above a laundrette in Brynymor Road will lead to a 47% HMO concentration within the defined 50m radius. The threshold for this area is 25%.
Ms Davies said the council had not identified any firm evidence of harm associated with HMOs in this instance.
She added that the immediate area had a busy night-time environment, and was unlikely to be popular with family households.
She imposed a condition that four bike spaces and refuse storage must be provided.
The council’s new planning policies relating to HMOs have led to several planning appeals being dismissed, but others have been upheld.
Council chiefs have issued legal proceedings relating to one of these upheld appeals – the conversion of a house in Montpelier Terrace, Mount Pleasant, into a seven-bed HMO – for a statutory review.
This matter is being considered by the High Court of Justice.