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Politics Swansea West Wales

Plans to change seafront guesthouse into HMO rejected

Beachcomber guest house, Oystermouth Road, Swansea (Pic: Richard Youle)

PLANS to change a guest house overlooking Swansea beach into a large house of multiple of occupation (HMO) have been turned down.

The owners of Beachcomber guest house said they faced an increase in competition from the likes of accommodation website Airbnb, the effects of inflation, and the low expectation of finding a buyer who’d be willing to work seven days a week for an income averaging less than the national wage.

Beachcomber is one of a string of guest houses and bed and breakfasts on Oystermouth Road, between Christ Church and Bay View bar and Thai restaurant. They’re very much part of the Swansea seafront, albeit set several metres back due to the dual carriageway.

Swansea beach, just across from Oystermouth Road (Pic: Richard Youle)

Applicant Deborah Baber sought to change the use of Beachcomber into an HMO for up to 10 people, with a residential unit at the rear retained and reconfigured.

Council planning officers said two of the proposed HMO bedrooms didn’t meet minimum space standards while two others looked onto an adjacent wall, and that the kitchen’s only source of natural light would be from a glazed door.

They added that the adjacent living room – for dining and socialising – would not be large enough. The planning officers’ report said:

“This would result in no reasonable provision for any communal seating area in which to relax, watch television, or entertain visitors, and would likely lead to occupants being reliant on bedrooms for relaxation and leisure time, which is not conducive to the objective of promoting good health and well-being.”

The report said no outdoor amenity space would be provided, adding to concerns about it being “over-intensive use”. Planning officers also had privacy concerns for occupiers of the reconfigured two-bedroom residential unit at the rear, and said it would – like the main building – have no outdoor space. In addition, they said its internal floor space fell short of minimum requirements.

Beachcomber is one of several guest houses on Oystermouth Road, Swansea (Pic: Richard Youle)

Further concerns were raised by the council about parking, bike storage and space to store rubbish and recycling, and there were three objections to the plans from members of the public. The owners of Beachcomber, who declined to comment on the planning decision, have the option of appealing or submitting a revised planning application.