Developer not allowed to convert family home into HMO

A developer has been refused permission to convert a family home into a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

The property was in a street which contained mainly single-family homes. The developer wanted to the convert it into six self-contained apartments.

The planning inspector considered the effect an HMO would have on the living conditions of neighbours, and the parking available on the street.

She also looked at the local authority’s wider development plan which favoured flats over HMOs.

However, one policy, DM9, did state that HMOs were acceptable so long as they met an identified need and were easily accessible by public transport. The developer submitted a letter from an estate agent saying that employees of a local school would be likely to provide suitable tenants.

However, the planning inspector felt the letters did not contain reliable evidence of demand and planning permission was rejected.

The developer appealed, claiming the inspector had been wrong to dismiss the letters as evidence, and that she had not fully understood DM9.

The High Court upheld the inspector’s decision.

It ruled that she had understood and applied policy DM9 correctly. She had considered the letters from the estate agents but found them to be unreliable as evidence.

It added that even if policy DM9 had not been correctly applied, it would not warrant overturning the inspector’s decision as it was not the overriding factor in this case.

The overall effect an HMO would have on the other residents on the street, and the fact that it would conflict with the local authority’s overall development plan were the more important things to consider.

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