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Councillors set to confirm refusal for Treforest 11-room HMO plans

Central Guest House In Stow Hill In Treforest (Pic: Google Maps)

COUNCILLORS are set to confirm refusal for plans for an 11-room HMO at a former bed and breakfast in Treforest.

The plan for the house in multiple occupation at Central Guest House in Stow Hill went before Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s planning committee in November, 2023, with an officer recommendation of approval and is now coming back before the committee to confirm reasons for refusal.

At the November meeting, councillors considered that the proposal was an over-intensification of use with sub-standard accommodation provided.

They decided to defer the application so they could ask that the developer reduce the number of bedrooms at the proposed HMO and so they could seek greater clarity on the refuse/ bin storage facilities.

It came back to committee last month with officers still recommending approval and amended plans were provided by the developer which showed an area dedicated for recycling storage and waste storage bins provided within the grounds of the property.

The developer also said that a minimum of 11 bedrooms was needed at the site to make the development viable and, as such, the number of bedrooms could not be reduced.

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Members of the committee voted to refuse the planning application as they considered that the development represented overdevelopment of the application site.

Since that meeting another objection has been submitted which raised concerns with the application and said that the proposal would increase problems and would be detrimental to the amenities of local residents.

If the committee is still minded to refuse the application, officers have suggested a reason for refusal which would be: “The proposal represents an intensification of use and is considered overdevelopment of the site, which would have a detrimental impact on the amenities of future occupiers and the amenities of nearby residents.

“As such, the application would be contrary to policy AW5 of the Rhondda Cynon Taf Local Development Plan.”

In their planning assessment, officers said that the site was situated within the settlement boundary limits of Treforest in a predominantly residential area.

They said: “It is considered that houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) have a key role to play in meeting housing need within the social rented sector and the proposal would assist in providing additional accommodation within this sector.

“However, it is also acknowledged that multiple occupation of a house can involve the intensification of its residential use and that this intensification of occupation could result in increased levels of activity in and around the house, which can have negative impacts on occupants, their neighbours, and the local community.

“Notwithstanding, the application site is in a predominantly residential area and in a sustainable location with good access to public transport and key services and facilities which is considered acceptable.”

Officers said: “The site also relates to an existing building and the proposal would be residential in nature, which is considered acceptable at this location.

“The proposal would not involve substantial external alterations and would not be considered to impact upon the character and appearance of the application property or upon the amenity and privacy of surrounding properties, nor would it have any adverse impact upon highway safety in the vicinity of the site.”

But they said that members raised concerns with regards to the increase in bedrooms at the site, which they considered would lead to an intensification of use and overdevelopment of the site.

They said that some members also noted that the facilities and amenities proposed were lacking and that the local planning authority should aspire to provide good quality accommodation for future occupants, adding that if members considered that the development would lead to an intensification of use and overdevelopment of the site, which would detriment residential amenities, the development could be considered contrary to policy AW5 of the Local Development Plan.

They went on to say: “It should be noted that the officer’s report considered that the property would be of a sufficient scale and that the development proposals would provide adequate space for people’s living needs.

“The developers also contend that they consider sufficient space would be provided for future occupants of the HMO and that they consider the development would comply with the Rhondda Cynon Taf HMO Landlord Guide.

“It should also be noted that under the Wales wide mandatory licensing scheme, HMOs that are three storeys or more and occupied by five or more persons living in two or more households are required to be licensed.”