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Concerns raised over six-bedroom HMO plans in Valleys village

Mill Street In Trecynon (Pic: Google Maps)

PLANS for a six-bedroom house in multiple occupancy (HMO) in a Valleys village have led to concerns being raised about the impact of previous tenants.

The application for a change of use to a HMO on Mill Street in Trecynon is due to go before Rhondda Cynon Taf’s planning committee on Thursday, June 20.

There would be some internal alterations with no external works required and it would include two bedrooms, a kitchen and two toilets on the ground floor, with four bedrooms, a living room and a bathroom on the first floor.

The main access would be gained off Mill Street with a small courtyard at the rear. No off-street car parking provision is proposed.

Part of the ground floor is taken over by a chip shop but this is owned by the applicant and is not included in the application.

The planning report said it is understood the property has previously been in use as a HMO but it has most recently been used as a single residential dwelling.

There have been 13 letters of objection, which raise issues including parking.

They said Mill Street has problems due to high levels of on-street car parking and the development could result in up to six new vehicles needing parking spaces on the street.

They said there are already problems with the bus not being able to pull into the bus stop opposite the house and this then blocks the flow of traffic.

They said additional parking will cause problems for people accessing the nearby pharmacy and the proposal would “seriously compromise” the quality of life and safety in the neighbourhood.

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The objectors also said previous residents have had negative impacts on the environment and community, and the property has previously been used as a HMO with a constant turnover of tenants.

They also mentioned issues with bins and the build up of rubbish at the property, as well as rodent and smell problems.

In recommending approval, planning officers said in their report the proposed residential use would be compatible with the surrounding land uses and would not result in an adverse impact upon the character of the site, the amenity of neighbouring occupiers or highway safety.

They said the application has been assessed by the council’s highways and transportation section and no objection has been received and the primary and pedestrian access is considered acceptable.

They said there is concern the proposal does not provide for any off-street car parking facilities; however, it is noted HMOs are needed to provide accommodation for low-income individuals or small households who would otherwise live in hostels or in overly large households, or would even be homeless and they are less likely to own cars than other households.

They add it is not anticipated the proposal would increase parking demand.

They also said the site is within walking distance of a number of local facilities and public transport, which will place less reliance on the private motor vehicle as the primary means of transport. A condition is recommended for secure cycle storage for residents.

The planning report said a review of the council’s list of registered HMOs reveals there are no other HMOs within a 50m radius of the site, and therefore, on the basis of the council’s records, there is no evidence to suggest the granting of this application would lead to an over-concentration or be directly harmful to the social cohesion of the neighbourhood.

Turning to particular issues associated with HMOs, such as antisocial behaviour, the report said it is considered these issues are able to be satisfactorily controlled by the council’s separate HMO licensing regime, or by the police.

It said issues relating to bins and other environmental health issues are also matters controlled by separate legislation and the behaviour of occupiers of HMOs, either in the case of the previous use of this property, or in terms of other HMOs in other areas, has no bearing on the behaviour of potential future occupiers of this property.

The report said that while acknowledging other concerns that are commonly raised about HMOs, such as waste and other visual blight, there is ample space in the rear garden area for the storage of refuse bins.