Home » Rhondda five-bedroom HMO plans slammed and described as ‘slum housing’
Politics Rhondda Cynon Taf South Wales

Rhondda five-bedroom HMO plans slammed and described as ‘slum housing’

Gordon Street In Ton Pentre (Pic: Google Maps)

COUNCILLORS have opposed “awful” plans for an HMO in a Rhondda street with one councillor describing the plan to shoehorn people in as “slum housing.”

The application is for a five-bedroom house in multiple occupancy (HMO) on Gordon Street in Ton Pentre but Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT) Council’s planning committee voted against it at a meeting on Thursday, June 20 due to concerns over the quality of accommodation.

The conversion would include a number of internal alterations only with no external works to the property required or proposed other than the demolition of a small porch at the rear.

The resulting house in multiple occupation (HMO) would have one bedroom, a kitchen, dining/living room, full bathroom, and entrance hallway at ground floor level and and four bedrooms and a toilet at first floor level.

The garden area to the rear of the property would be kept for use as an amenity space.

No off-street parking provision is proposed and primary access would be gained off Gordon Street to the front.

The application is a resubmission following the refusal of an earlier application for a similar development that proposed the conversion of the property to a six-bedroom HMO.

That application was refused as it was considered that the proposed number of bedrooms would place significant pressure on the plot representing an over-intensive use of the property and overdevelopment of the site.

One bedroom has been removed in an attempt to overcome the earlier concerns.

Councillor Norman Howell Morgan, councillor for Pentre, said it’s a small street and that this development will affect the nature of the street and the neighbourhood.

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He said it doesn’t meet the higher standards in the guidance and that it doesn’t even meet the minimum standards.

He said they’ve had other developments have either been new builds or conversions of large buildings and are not squeezing people in.

Councillor Scott Emanuel said they’re seeing an awful lot of these applications  and he sympathises with the residents and local councillor and said it’s not about who will be residing at the property adding they have a duty to ensure that people have the best quality housing possible.

He said he doesn’t think that this application provides that and said that trying to “shoehorn” five adults into what was a family home with one bathroom is “slum housing” and he thinks developers are taking advantage of cheap house prices to make a return.

Councillor Ross Williams said they have a moral duty to make the right choice not always the popular choice by some.

He said the application is “awful” and they have to put a marker in the sand for future developments that if they want to buy cheap properties and shoehorn people in to them then RCT isn’t the place for them.

Councillor Wendy Lewis said that as a council they are able to set their own standards and they really need to look at get it done as a priority before they start coming thick and fast urging them to get it right from the start.

Councillor Sharon Rees said she’s sure that RCT isn’t the only area getting these problems.

There were 62 letters of objection in relation to this from local residents, both local councillors, and the Senedd Member for South Wales Central, Andrew RT Davies, as well as a separate petition which includes 58 separate signatures.

The objections raise concerns over the safety of the community, impact upon property value, the lack of parking exacerbating existing parking issues, that it will have a detrimental effect on the immediate neighbourhood and on the amenity of neighbours living there thus changing the street’s character completely, and that it will result in excessive noise and disturbance.

They also mentioned that there are no proposals to provide adequate refuse storage space for the occupants and that there is an issue with rats, that there is no need to provide this type of accommodation in Gordon Street, potential anti-social behaviour, lack of community cohesion due to the temporary nature of HMOs, and that additional vehicles will compound existing issues with traffic around Ton Pentre.

The objectors also mentioned environmental and safety standards and said it would add pressure to existing services in the area, cause a loss of daylight and privacy for neighbours. They also drew attention to the lack of cycle storage and said there were more appropriate buildings in the area for HMOs and raised concern that bedroom spaces and communal areas were wholly inadequate for potential tenants.

Other points raised included that Ton Pentre already has HMOs in the area and to allow this type of development would be setting a precedent for this type of accommodation and would “deny young families and the elderly affordable homes within the Valley area”.

But in recommending approval planning officers said in their report: “The proposal is in keeping with policies AW5 and AW6 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.”

It will now come back to committee for the strengths and weaknesses of going against officers’ recommendations to be considered.