NEW 6 BED HMO APPROVED
QUEEN'S ROAD, CHESTER
Conversion of existing C3 residential unit to C4 use (House in Multiple Occupation) in the Garden Quarter Ward/Electoral Division of Chester, Cheshire.
Following the successful delivery of a six bed HMO in Shrewsbury En-Plan: Planning & Architecture were approached by the same development company to deliver a new 6 bed HO in Chester A Certificate fo Lawfulness application was duly submitted to Cheshire West and Chester Council for assessment.
SITE AND PROPOSAL
2 Queens Road relates to an existing C3 dwelling, situated within a primarily residential area of Boughton Chester. The dwelling is within the Boughton Canalside (Chester) Conservation Area. The property appears to have full permitted development rights in place. The Chester City Centre Conservation Area is a designated area within the city of Chester, England, aimed at preserving and enhancing the historic and architectural character of the city center. Here is an overview of the history of Chester City Centre Conservation Area:
Roman Origins: The history of Chester dates back to Roman times when it was founded as a fortress in AD 79. The city, known as Deva Victrix, became an important military and administrative center. Many Roman features, such as the city walls, amphitheater, and street grid layout, continue to shape the character of Chester today.
Medieval Development: Following the decline of the Roman Empire, Chester underwent a period of transformation during the medieval era. The city grew as a prosperous market town, and its strategic location as a crossing point on the River Dee made it an important trading hub. Notable medieval structures in the conservation area include the Chester Cathedral, medieval rows (covered walkways with shops), and the city gates.
Tudor and Stuart Eras: During the Tudor and Stuart periods, Chester continued to prosper. Timber-framed buildings were constructed, some of which can still be seen today. Notable examples are God's Providence House and Stanley Palace, both located within the conservation area.
Georgian Influence: In the 18th century, Chester experienced a period of Georgian elegance and refinement. Grand townhouses, Georgian squares, and elegant public buildings were built, transforming the city's architectural character. Notable examples include the Town Hall, the Grosvenor Museum, and many elegant Georgian townhouses.
Victorian and Edwardian Expansion: During the Victorian and Edwardian periods, Chester underwent further development and expansion. The city center saw the construction of new public buildings, commercial premises, and residential areas. Victorian and Edwardian architectural styles can be seen in buildings such as the Chester Central Library and the Queen's School.
Post-War Conservation Efforts: In the 20th century, there was a growing recognition of the need to preserve Chester's architectural heritage. The city center's historic fabric was safeguarded through conservation efforts, culminating in the designation of the Chester City Centre Conservation Area in 1968.
The Chester City Centre Conservation Area encompasses a wide range of architectural styles, from Roman and medieval structures to Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian buildings. The area's historical significance, architectural diversity, and cohesive streetscape contribute to its designation as a conservation area, ensuring the preservation and sensitive development of the city's historic core.
This application seeks to confirm that the use the property as a small HMO for up to six people (use class C4) would be lawful. The proposal also seeks confirmation that adding roof lights to the front and rear roof and a new side window at ground floor constitute permitted development. The plans initially sought to add a roof dormer to the rear, however this has been removed because the property is within a conservation area and therefore failed to accord with Schedule 2, Part 1 Class B of the GPDO.
RELEVANT PLANNING POLICIES
The application was made under s192 in relation to the confirmation that the use of the property (as a C4) and roof and window alterations constitutes permitted development. ‘C4’ means use class C4 – Use of a dwellinghouse by not more than six residents as a “house in multiple occupation”. As defined in The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Amendment) (England) Order 2010.
ISSUES AND ASSESMENT
Firstly, in relation to the change of use. Schedule 2 Part 3 Class L of the GPDO 2015 indicates that:
“Development consisting of a change of use of a building—
(a) from a use falling within Class C4 (houses in multiple occupation) of the Schedule to the Use
Classes Order, to a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) of that Schedule;
(b) from a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) of the Schedule to the Use Classes
Order, to a use falling within Class C4 (houses in multiple occupation) of that Schedule is permitted development.
The Development not permitted when by Class L if it would result in the use—
(a) as two or more separate dwellinghouses falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) of the Schedule
to the Use Classes Order of any building previously used as a single dwellinghouse falling within
Class C4 (houses in multiple occupation) of that Schedule; or
(b) as two or more separate dwellinghouses falling within Class C4 (houses in multiple occupation)
of that Schedule of any building previously used as a single dwellinghouse falling within Class
C3 (dwellinghouses) of that Schedule.
In this instance, the property is currently a C3 dwellinghouse with 4 bedrooms. The amended proposed floor plan indicates 6 bedrooms would be created, 5 with en-suite bathrooms. The applicant has confirmed the property would not be occupied by more than 6 people. There is no article 4 or conditions preventing the use of the property as a C4 HMO as such, the use would accord with Schedule 2 Part 3 Class L of the GPDO 2015 and is permitted development.
In regards to the amendments to the dwelling, as was indicated the roof dormer has been removed as the property is within a conservation area and therefore failed Schedule 2, Part 1 Class B of the GDPO. The new roof lights would not protrude more than 0.15m beyond the plain of the original roof and therefore meet Part 1 Class C of the GPDO. The new door and window in the side elevation accord with Part 2, Class A. These works are acceptable for a dwellinghouse of this nature.
In considering whether Schedule 2 Part 1 (development in the curtilage of a dwellinghouse) applies to this property once it has been converted to a C4 use. Class C4, can benefit from the permitted development rights granted to dwellinghouse by the GPDO. The test for if a property is eligible its whether its use can be considered a dwellinghouse within the context of the GPDO. Critically, case law has established that the distinctive characteristic of a dwellinghouse is its ability to afford to those who use it the facilities required for a day-to-day private domestic existence.
In this instance, the property would have 5 ensuite bedrooms and one double bedroom with bathroom adjoining it. there would be an open plan living room and kitchen as well as small outdoor yard area. As such, the property would afford the people who used it the facilities required for a day-to-day private domestic existence therefore would benefit from the permitted development rights granted to dwellinghouse by the GPDO. As such in this instance the change of use and works described above would be lawful and not require planning permission.
The change of use to a C4 HMO for up to 6 people is permitted development under Schedule 2, Part 3, Class L of the GPDO 2015. The insertion of the new window and door in the side elevation as well as the roof lights to the front and rear roof also accord with Schedule 2, Part 1 Class A and C respectively, these classes would apply given the use of the property would afford those who use it day-to-day private existence and therefore the use would constitute a dwellinghouse.
As with the Shrewsbury project a Certificate of Lawfulness was required to allow for the release of finance for the project and this was duly approved by Cheshire West and Chester Council on the 22nd January 2021.
It is important to note at this state what actually is a HMO and the governments own definition is:
Your property is an HMO if both of the following apply:
at least 3 tenants live there, forming more than a single household
toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities that are shared
A household consists of either a single person or members of the same family who live together. It includes people who are married or living together and people in same-sex relationships.
An HMO must have a licence if it is occupied by 5 or more people. A council can also include other types of HMOs for licensing. To apply for licence you not only need planning approval but you will need a Building Regulations completion certificate
With the above in mind he next stage En-Plan were involved with was the Building Regulations Application for the detailed conversion specification that will ensure a completion certificate for the project which will allow for the HMO to be licensed and begin operation. The detail was subsequently agreed with Approved Inspectors who although based in Shrewsbury provide coverage from the north west and Chester down to Birmingham and Coventry, and the conversion is now completed and fully let.
En-Plan provided the detail on the new loft conversion that would form part of the development with the alteration in ceiling height at first floor that make this a viable option and the full cross sectional detail that allows for accurate quotations for the project.
With the Planning and Building Regulations finsalised and completed on site the applicant could now apply to the Council for a HMO Licence and begin to realise the full potential of the property.
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. Alternatively please refer to our dedicated HMO Page for more examples of success in this field.
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