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Merthyr Tydfil Politics South Wales

Dowlais HMO Plans refused

The Hmo Would Be Located On Overton Street In Dowlais (Pic: Google Maps)

PLANS for an HMO in Merthyr Tydfil which have raised concerns among residents have been refused.

The application to change a four-bedroom house in Overton Street in Dowlais into a six-bedroom HMO (house in multiple occupation) was rejected by the council’s planning committee on Wednesday, May 8.

At the committee meeting held on April 10 it was decided not to accept the officer recommendation to conditionally approve the planning application.

Members instead decided they wished the application be refused due to concerns with the potential management of the property, impact on the residential nature of the street, parking, anti-social behaviour, fire safety, and personal safety to existing residents.

Although officers recommended approval, a number of reasons for refusal were drafted based on the views of committee members:

  • There are concerns that there would not be adequate supervision of the property, and its residents, due to the lack of a proper CCTV system and a lack of house rules.
  • The proposal would change the fabric of this small street and be detrimental to its character, which is mainly made up of families with young children, causing an adverse long-term effect on nearby residents.
  • The street is already heavily congested and the parking situation is extremely difficult. While there is a car park across the road from the property this fills up very quickly and the creation of a HMO property would only exacerbate this issue, especially if its occupants are professionals and all own a vehicle.
  • The provision of a HMO would result in disruptions and other nuisances and deteriorate the existing quiet and safe street it currently is.
  • The proposal is likely to result in an increase in anti-social behaviour, which has been evident at a nearby HMO. There are also concerns in respect of who would deal with such issues.
  • The street already has a high level of anti-social behaviour, particularly near the archway access, which provides a pedestrian route from Overton Street to Alma Street. Given that the street is largely made up of families with children the proposed use would present a massive risk to residents.
  • The development would give rise to concerns of personal safety for existing residents in the area.

In February the application was deferred for a site visit which took place in March.

There were nine public letters of objection submitted to the council about this application which raised concerns over it being detrimental to the character of the street, congestion and parking issues, disturbance and anti-social behaviour, an increased risk of fire and the safety, and wellbeing of existing residents.

But in recommending approval officers said in their report that “consideration has been given to the impact of the proposal on the amenities of surrounding residents and as the property would continue to be used for residential purposes the proposal would not be considered significantly different to the existing use that may otherwise be detrimental to nearby occupiers”.

They said a dwelling can normally accommodate up to six people living together as a single household without the need for planning permission and that given the property’s sustainable location it is not considered that the lack of parking would give rise to significant highway safety concerns.

Officers said that the responsibility for dealing with issues like anti-social behaviour, which is not necessarily unique to HMO developments, would be shared between a number of agencies, particularly the police, the local authority, and the landlord.

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And they said that the proposed change of use would not involve any alterations to the outside of the house so in terms of visual impact it would “not have an adverse impact on the appearance of the property or the character of the wider area”.