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Concerns raised over HMO plans in Ynyshir, Rhondda

Gynor Place In Ynyshir (Pic: Google Maps)

CONCERNS have been raised by some residents about plans for a five-bedroom HMO in the Rhondda.

The application is for the change of use of a property to a house in multiple occupancy (HMO) with five bedrooms and to demolish the old porch area at the rear of a property in Gynor Place , Ynyshir.

The conversion would be undertaken mainly through a number of internal alterations with no major external works to the property required or proposed, just the demolition of a porch to the rear of the property, the planning report said.

The HMO would accommodate one bedroom, living/dining room, kitchen, bathroom, toilet and entrance hallway at ground floor level, and four bedrooms at first floor level with no off-street parking proposed.

The main access would be gained off Gynor Place to the front with additional secondary access from the service lane to the rear.

The garden areas to the front and rear of the property would be kept for use as amenity space.

There were letters of objection received from neighbours which raised issues such as nuisance or disturbance and the rear lane access to car driveways.

They said there would be a “conveyor belt” of different characters moving into the property, year in, year out living completely different lifestyles to everybody in the street and the surrounding community which they said would not be harmonious in any sense of the word and would be to extreme detriment to existing resident’s current peaceful and safe ways of life.

They mentioned that the proposal offered no car parking spaces which could add five or more cars to the street which they said was unacceptable due to the fact that on street parking in this area was already full and the road fronting the property was extremely narrow.

There was concern with the proposed layout, the history of rodent infestations and the significant increase in waste produced in comparison to a traditional family household, exacerbating the existing rodent situation.

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There were concerns that the property owner did not live locally and therefore would not be readily available to deal with any situations as they arose such as boiler problems, fire alarm system malfunctions or noise disturbance.

They said it would exacerbate highway safety problems in the area and that it was contrary to the requirements of Local Development Plan policy which required a high quality of affordable housing.

They also mentioned supplementary planning guidance on HMOs which set out that applications would be refused where living rooms or kitchens would be located directly adjacent to upstairs bedrooms of neighbouring houses.

They said that as the application provided a ground floor bedroom adjacent to the living room or kitchen of the neighbouring home it would be logical to assume this would certainly not comply with the guidance.

In recommending approval, planning officers said that the proposal was in keeping with policies of the Rhondda Cynon Taf Local Development Plan and national policy in that, the proposed residential use would be compatible with the surrounding land uses and would not result in an adverse impact upon either the character of the site, the amenity of neighbouring occupiers or highway safety.

In the report they said “there is no evidence to suggest that the granting of this planning application would lead to an over-concentration of HMOs in the locality or would be directly harmful to the social cohesion of the neighbourhood.”

In relation to particular issues associated with HMOs, such as persistent anti-social behaviour, the report said that it was considered that these issues were able to be satisfactorily controlled by the council’s separate HMO licensing regime and the behaviour of occupiers of HMOs in other areas had no bearing on the behaviour of potential future occupiers of this property.

It also said that, whilst acknowledging other concerns that were commonly raised with HMOs, such as waste and other visual blight, there was ample space within both the front and rear garden areas for the storage of refuse bins.

The report added that it was not considered the change of use would result in any physical detriment to the nearest residential properties and although the use of the property as an HMO for up to five individuals would result in the intensification of the use of the property, which was likely to result in some additional noise and disturbance, it was not considered that this would be to such an extent that it would be significantly above that which could occur if it was to remain as a single household.

It also said that the application property was located on the main road through the village where it was considered a degree of noise and disturbance already occurred.

In terms of highway safety, the report said that the proposed HMO was located within easy walking distance of public transport and local amenities placing less reliance on a car as the primary mode of transport and it was not anticipated that it would generate additional vehicle movements and on-street car parking.

Public health and protection confirmed that the layout met the required, separate licence standards and that they had no objection to the proposed layout of the HMO and the level and size of the accommodation proposed within it.