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Merthyr Tydfil Politics South Wales

Penydarren HMO plans set to be decided

Urban Street In Merthyr Tydfil (Pic: Google Maps)

A PLANNED HMO in the Penydarren area of Merthyr Tydfil is set to be decided but some residents have concerns.

The application is for the change of use of a house into a house of multiple occupancy (HMO) for three people and a bike shed in Urban Street and is going before the council’s planning committee on Wednesday, April 10.

The HMO woud be made up of three bedrooms with shared kitchen, living/dining room, and bathroom and external alterations are proposed.

A timber bike shed and a parking area is proposed within the rear garden which would be accessed via the adjacent lane and would provide a single parking space.

The planning report said these aspects of the proposal could be undertaken under permitted development rights.

Councillor David Isaac has requested that the application be reported to committee to consider the residents concerns and the suitability of the area for a HMO.

There were 10 letters of objection which raised concerns including a CCTV camera which has been installed and is directed towards a neighbouring property.

Objectors said it has been indicated it is required in case there is any trouble at the property and thus giving the impression that trouble may be expected.

Another concern was over the safety of existing residents and feeling unsafe not knowing who would be living in the property and their backgrounds.

They raised concern over the potential for increased crime rate and anti-social behaviour and said parking is already an issue in the street with cars having to park on the pavements due to the narrow carriageway and they mentioned the impact of parking on visibility and highway safety.

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Other concerns included consultation with the residents and location of site notices, that the street is part of a conservation area and the HMO would impact on the character of the area, aesthetics of the properties and visual appeal and the impact on house prices and ability to sell properties.

They also mentioned the number of tenants that could occupy the property, the properties are small and not suitable for multiple occupants, the proposal would lead to more litter, recycling bins and general waste bins.

Other concerns are about noise and disturbance as a result of a higher density of people living at the property, late-night gatherings and a lack of consideration for the neighbourhood’s tranquillity which would affect quality of life.

Another concern was that work has already started and there are already residents living at the property.

And they mentioned the transient nature of HMO residents means that there would be a high turnover of residents making it difficult to establish a sense of communal responsibility and result in a lack of accountability for maintaining the property and safety of the area.

But planning officers have recommended approval and they have responded to these concerns saying the direction of the CCTV camera would be regulated under different legislation and cannot be controlled by the planning authority.

They said that while it is acknowledged that this may give the impression that trouble at the property may be expected this may not be the case. In fact the presence of the CCTV camera suggests that the property would be monitored, they said.

The report said that the application was publicised in accordance with the statutory requirements with letters sent to surrounding dwellings and site notices displayed within the vicinity of the site.

It said the potential impact that the proposed use may have on the property values and ability to sell is not a material planning consideration.

The report said that the use class covers shared houses or flats occupied by between three and six unrelated individuals who share basic amenities but given the size of the dwelling in question it is considered unlikely that it could accommodate any additional bedrooms.

It said the property may be relatively small but this is reflected in the number of bedrooms proposed and it is not considered that the use of the property as a HMO housing three people would be any less suitable in size than the current three-bedroom dwelling.

It also said that it is considered “unlikely” that the proposal would lead to more litter, recycling bins, or general waste bins but this would not be a matter for the planning authority.

It added that whether the developers have sent letters to the residents or not would not impact on the determination of this application.

Finally the report said it is not clear what work has commenced but the only external work would be the erection of the cycle store, which could potentially be implemented under permitted development rights.

It is understood that there may be two people already occupying the property but this would not constitute a HMO and would still fall within the C3 use class, it said.