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Merthyr Tydfil Politics South Wales

HMO plans in Galon Uchaf due to be decided

Ninth Avenue In The Galon Uchaf Area Of Merthyr Tydfil (Pic: Google Maps)

A PROPOSED HMO in part of Merthyr Tydfil is due to be decided by councillors with hundreds having objected to it.

The application is to turn a property into a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) for five people on Ninth Avenue in Galon Uchaf.

No physical changes are proposed to the outside of the property but there are alterations planned for the inside which involve a partition which would provide an additional bedroom at the ground floor level to enable the house to accommodate five bedrooms for five people with a communal kitchen area, bathroom and living/dining room.

A cycle store is proposed  in the back garden area with five spaces as well as one bird box and one bat box.

Councillor David Isaac has requested that the application go before the planning committee to consider the concerns raised by local residents, which includes the potential impact on the character of the area, residential amenity and highway safety.

There were 48 individual letters of objection received and three petitions objecting to the development with a total of 425 signatures.

They raised concerns about the “unsuitable location” as well as the impact upon parking and highway safety, the over intensification of use, that it would be “detrimental to community” and safety and well-being concerns.

They mentioned concerns over anti-social or criminal behaviour, the devaluation of properties and it being close to a school, nursery facilities and children’s playing fields.

But in recommending approval, planning officers said: “The proposal would provide much needed housing of an affordable nature in a time of economic hardship.”

They said comments about the increased potential for anti-social behaviour and comments relating to the character of potential future occupiers were not material considerations in the assessment of the application.

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They said such issues could arise in residential areas without the need for planning consent and they fall outside the remit of the Town and Country Planning Act so these issues could not be controlled via a planning consent and would not warrant the refusal of this application on such grounds.

They also said that concerns in relation to the motive of the applicant and property values were also not material considerations in the assessment and determination of a planning application.

The officers said in their report that it was considered that the property was of a sufficient scale to provide accommodation for five people without resulting in an overdevelopment/intensification of the site.

They said the application site was within close proximity to local  amenities which future occupiers would be able to access via sustainable modes of transport, adding that a bus service operated from the nearby bus stop linking the application site with the town centre and other nearby settlements/local centres.

They added that a cycle store was proposed as part of the submission which “further adds” to the sustainable credentials of the proposed development.

They said no alterations were proposed to the exterior of the property, as such any visual impact would be unchanged and that the land was within a residential area and had an existing residential use and this would be unchanged.

The officers’ report said that there were no other houses of multiple occupation in this area as such it was not considered that the introduction of one would have any significant change to the character of the area that would warrant concern.

They added that no difference would be felt by neighbouring occupiers from the built form and that it was not considered to result in an over intensification of the use or to have any unacceptable adverse impact upon the living conditions of neighbouring occupiers.

On highways and parking, they said the existing parking provision would be improved as a result of this proposal by the addition of one off street parking space to be provided to the rear of the property adjacent to the existing garage.

They said the change in the use of the property to a HMO would not require a greater provision of parking than the existing dwelling use and that a greater level of occupancy could occur at this property without the need for planning consent.

Their report also said that as it was within the settlement boundary and given its proximity to an existing bus route it was considered that the stance of national policy further added to the justification for not providing off street parking provision.

The proposal was said to have been considered by the head of engineering and highways who raised no objection to the proposal in relation to highway safety and that they recognised that a shortfall of parking provision existed but that the proposal would result in a betterment when compared to the existing situation.