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Councillors vote against Treforest 11-room HMO plans

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

COUNCILLORS have voted against plans to turn a B&B into an 11-room house in multiple occupation (HMO) in Treforest.

The application from D2 PropCo Limited for Central Guest House in Stow Hill went back before Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT) Council’s planning committee on Thursday, January 25 with councillors voting against officers’ recommendations.

It will now come back to to a future meeting for members to receive a further report before a final decision is made.

It previously went before the committee in November but was deferred to request the developer reduce the number of bedrooms and for clarity on refuse storage facilities.

The committee thought the creation of an 11-bedroom HMO at the site was an over-intensification of use with sub-standard accommodation provided.

There were no letters received from neighbours about the application but Councillor Steve Powderhill raised concerns, saying the plans would double the occupancy of the guest house, which has six rooms to let.

He also said he understood the need for this type of accommodation, however objected to the number of occupants proposed.

Pontypridd Town Council also objected because it considers  the area has issues with traffic and parking. It said the proposal would exacerbate the issue of inadequate parking for residents and businesses and would negatively impact the quality of local residents’ amenities.

The town council added that there is a surplus of student accommodation in the area and as such, they consider that residents and their families are being forced to move from the community.

But planning officers had recommended it be approved, saying the site is within the settlement boundary limits of Treforest in a predominantly residential area.

They added: “It is considered that 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.

“Furthermore, the application complies with relevant policies of the council’s HMO supplementary planning guidance.

“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.”

In their report, officers said the developer confirmed a minimum of 11 bedrooms was needed to make the development viable and they think there would be sufficient space provided and it would comply with the RCT HMO landlord guide.

Under the Wales-wide mandatory licensing scheme, HMOs that are three storeys or more and occupied by five or more people living in two or more households need to be licensed.

Since April 2019, all HMOs in the borough are required to be licensed and must meet the required amenities and facilities standards.

On refuse and bin storage at the site, the planning report said amended plans were provided on December 1 which showed an area dedicated for recycling and waste storage bins within the grounds of the property next to the entrance gates, which open onto Stow Hill.

The report said: “Overall, it is considered that the proposal would assist in providing much-needed additional accommodation within the social rented sector.

“The site is in a residential area and in a highly sustainable location. The property is considered of a sufficient scale and the development proposals would provide adequate space for people’s living needs.

“Additional plans also show that there would be dedicated are within the ground of the property for refuse storage facilities.

Consequently, the development is considered acceptable, and the application is recommended for approval.