7 BED HMO
GREENFIELDS, SHREWSBURY, SHROPSHIRE
Greenfields, Shrewsbury, Shropshire.
Planning Application submitted and approved for conversion of existing residential unit to a "Suis Generis" use (house with 7 rent-able rooms).
This application should be seen in conjunction with the Certificate of Lawfulness Application for a 6 bed HMO at the same property as the applicant was trying to maximise the development potential of the property. In order to do this a full planning application was required to gain the additional bedroom and thereby change the use from a C4 (HMO use class) to a Suis Generis Use class (Sui generis is Latin for 'of its own kind'. It is a term used to categorise buildings that do not fall within any particular use class for the purposes of planning permission. The different use classes are set out in the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes Order 1987).
En-Plan produced the two applications and both were submitted to Shropshire County Council Planning Department. The Certificate of Lawfulness Application sailed through the planning process as you are allowed to change the use of a house from a residential unit to a house in multiple occupation without the need for planning permission. The Certificate of Lawfulness gave a legal view on this and allowed the applicants the ability secure funding for the scheme safe in the knowledge there would be no issues in terms of Planning Enforcement at a later date.
The planing application required for the 7 bed suis generis use included the erection of a single storey side and rear extension and rear dormer window to facilitate an additional room in the extended roof space to provide a total of 7 rentable rooms in association with change of use from residential to sui-generis use (large house in
multiple occupation) and provision of extended dropped kerb to provide vehicular access and parking for 2 cars
The planning application was called into Planning Committee by the Local Councillor but En-Plan were able to attend and speak on the merits of the application which subsequently received approval at the meeting. To understand the decision we have prepared the following planning assessment of the application:
Principle of development
The property is locatyed in Greenfields area of Shrewsbury which refers to a residential neighborhood located on the eastern side of the town. It is situated between Whitchurch Road (A49) and Longden Road, approximately 2 miles southeast of the town center. The Greenfields area is primarily composed of residential properties, including a mix of houses and some apartment buildings. The neighborhood features a range of housing styles, including detached, semi-detached, and terraced houses. As for the history of the Greenfields area in Shrewsbury, it has developed over time as part of the town's expansion. The specific details of its history, including the dates of development and any significant events, would require more in-depth local knowledge or access to historical records.
Core Strategy Policy CS2 and SAMDev policy MD1 identifies Shrewsbury as the primary focus for housing development for Shropshire and the provision of housing within the urban area of Shrewsbury accords with SAMDev Policy S16. The existing house is situated within the Greenfields area to the North of
Shrewsbury Town Centre which is an established residential area. The site is located within close proximity to a range of services and facilities and within easy walking or cycling distance of Shrewsbury town centre with a wide range of retail and leisure facilities and employment opportunities and easy access to public
transport including the bus and train station. It is therefore considered to be a sustainable location for the provision of HMO accommodation.
The need for this type of accommodation and also the impact on the balance of accommodation in the locality has been questioned. The local member also considers that the accommodation will be ‘non-commissioned exempt accommodation’ and that ‘under Section 13 of Housing Benefit Regulations, it has to be demonstrated that there is need for this type of accommodation and that the need is not met elsewhere’.
'Exempt accommodation’ is a term used under Housing Benefit legislation to describe accommodation where the rules that normally limit the amount of rent covered by a benefit award do not apply. Regulation 13 of the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 provides for the restriction of benefit for occupiers of “exempt”
accommodation. The amount of housing benefit can be restricted following an assessment of whether the rent payable for the accommodation in question is unreasonably high by comparison with that payable for suitable alternative accommodation elsewhere. The Housing Benefits regulations are not considered relevant to the determination of this application for planning permission for a dwelling to be used as a 7 person HMO. A review of alternative accommodation available in the area would be considered as part of any application by a future occupier for housing benefit.
The proposal will provide affordable one bedroom accommodation close to Shrewsbury town centre which accords with CS11 that states the following:
‘To meet the diverse housing needs of Shropshire residents now and in the future and to create mixed, balanced and inclusive communities, an integrated and balanced approach will be taken with regard to existing and new housing, including type, size, tenure and affordability. This will be achieved by seeking housing developments which help to balance the size, type and tenure of the local housing stock’. The conversion of this single dwelling to a HMO will provide accommodation of a different size, type and tenure to that predominantly available in the area and help contribute to the provision of a more balanced and inclusive community. The proposed HMO is not for a particular type of tenant (as indicated by some objectors
to the proposal) and whether future tenants are in employment and/or on housing benefit is not considered relevant to the determination of the application. There is therefore no requirement to consult housing benefits officers regarding this application. It is also not considered necessary for the need for the proposed development to be justified or demonstrated. If there is no demand for the proposed accommodation the rooms would not be let.
The Council aving checked with the Housing team and Regulatory Services confirmed that there is only one licenced HMO nearby at no 28 Ellesmere Road but there are no other licenced HMO’s in the local area. It is considered that the provision of a HMO for up to 7 would not significantly impact on the mix and type of
housing available in the locality. Regulatory Services have also confirmed that a HMO occupied by five or more
people sharing facilities (e.g. kitchen and/or bathroom) must be licensed. They have also confirmed that when considering a licence application they do not need to consult the public and that provided the rooms are safe and suitable and the applicant passes the fit and proper person test a licence has to be granted.
In addition to requiring a licence planning permission is only also required in this instance because this proposal is for seven. The use of a dwelling as a HMO for up to six is permitted development and would not require planning permission. It is considered that the provision of one additional room to allow up to seven residents is not significantly different to that allowed under permitted development. However to ensure that the rooms do not become double occupancy and the use over intensified a condition can be imposed to ensure a maximum of seven residents.
Shrewsbury, like many towns and cities, can experience parking challenges at times. While it may not be considered as severe as in larger cities, certain areas and times of the day can present parking difficulties. Factors such as population growth, increased car ownership, limited parking spaces, and the popularity of certain areas can contribute to the perceived parking problem.
In the town center, where there is a mix of shops, restaurants, and other attractions, parking can be in high demand, particularly during peak hours and on busy days. There are public car parks available in and around the town center, but availability may vary depending on the time of day and events happening in the area.
To address parking issues, Shrewsbury has implemented various parking management strategies, including time-limited parking zones, parking permits for residents, and parking restrictions in certain areas. The town also encourages the use of alternative transportation options, such as cycling, walking, and public transportation, to alleviate parking pressure.
With gthe above in mind CS6 and MD2 require that adequate car parking is provided to ensure that development does not result in unacceptable adverse impacts such as cars overspilling onto surrounding roads and negatively impacting on the local road network. Highways have commented that the proposal could potentially create a higher demand for parking than the existing family home might generate and whilst this is not ideal from a highways and transport perspective, an objection on highways grounds would not be sustainable.
The proposal is more likely to attract residents that don’t own a car rather than car owners, and the provision of a HMO for seven with only two parking spaces is considered acceptable in this close to town centre location. The use of the property as a HMO for up to six and with no off-street parking provision is in any case
Whether the house remains as a single dwelling or is occupied by six or seven unrelated individuals would not significantly impact on highway or pedestrian safety or the availability of on-street parking in the locality. It is considered that the proposed development including the provision of two parking spaces would not significantly impact on the amount of traffic or result in increased congestion or air pollution in the area.
Impact on the character and appearance of the area
SAMDev Policy MD2 (Sustainable Design) and Core Strategy Policy CS6 (Sustainable Design and Development Principles) requires development to protect and conserve the built environment and be appropriate in scale, density, pattern and design taking into account the local context and character. MD13 and CS17 seek to ensure that development protects and enhances the local character of the built and historic environment.
The proposed extensions include a single storey side and rear extension and the insertion of a dormer window to the rear and a roof light to the front. The dormer window and roof light are both permitted development and do not require planning permission. It is considered that the proposed replacement single storey extension
to the rear and side extension to the existing would have no adverse impact on the character and appearance of the building. The dwelling is currently vacant and in need of repair and renovation, and the proposed conversion to a HMO and associated external and internal alterations would secure its future maintenance.
The house is not listed and is not in a conservation area or subject to an article 4 direction. Any repairs and alterations to the front of the house do not need planning permission and therefore it would not be reasonable to impose conditions stipulating what materials can be used in making any improvements to the front including changing the windows.
Impact on residential amenity
Policy CS6 and MD2 seek to ensure that development contributes to the health and wellbeing of communities, including safeguarding residential and local amenity. Paragraph 127 of the NPPF states that planning policies and decisions should ensure that development ‘creates places that are safe, inclusive and accessible
and which promote health and well-being, with a high standard of amenity for existing and future users’.
A HMO rented out and occupied by unrelated individuals but sharing facilities has the potential to be occupied in a different manner to a single residential dwelling, and potentially result in more comings and goings compared to its occupation by a family unit. However the use by six unrelated persons is permitted development and as this proposal is only for one more it is not considered that the proposed change of use would significantly impact on residential amenity compared to its existing use as a dwelling or its lawful use as a HMO for up to six individuals.
As confirmed by Regulatory Services a HMO needs a licence to operate which specifies the number of tenants and ensures that the property is inspected and regulated. A licence can be revoked if the property is not properly managed and/or does not comply with the relevant fire and health and safety regulations.
With regards to the impact of the proposed single storey rear and side extension this replaces an existing extension and does not extend any further to the rear than the existing. The replacement rear extension does not need panning permission and it is only the part of the extension to the side of the existing that actually requires planning permission. It is considered that the proposed single storey flat roof extension would not have any significant adverse impact in terms of loss of light, a loss of privacy or appearing overbearing or obtrusive.
It is considered that the proposed change of use is acceptable in principle and will help contribute to the provision of a balance in the type, size, tenure and affordability of accommodation in a sustainable location near to Shrewsbury town centre and therefore accords with Core Strategy Policy CS2, CS11 and SAMDev policy MD1 and S16. It is considered that the proposed change of use and the extensions to the house would not adversely impact on the character and appearance of the building or the locality and would not have an adverse impact
Post planning En-Plan have gained Building Regulations Approval for the technical detail for the conversion and the project is now complete although the applicant has opted for the the 6 Bed HMO as the cost of the new dormer required to allow for the additional bedroom did not stack up financially at this early stage although it remains an option for a future date.
If you would like to find out more about how our Planning Consultancy and Architectural Design Services can work in perfect sync to achieve a successful outcome in the planning system please CONTACT US and we will be only too happy to talk through any questions or development proposals you may have.
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