Agenda item

21/02361/FUL 37 Market Street, Cheltenham GL50 3NH


The Planning Officer presented the report, which related to a proposed side and rear extension. It was at committee at the request of Cllr. Willingham over concerns about the impact on neighbour amenity and possible use as a house in multiple occupation (HMO).

Speaking in objection to the application as a neighbour, Mrs Georgina Herbert suggested that it was a case of overdevelopment since the property had already been extended twice. It was currently run as a four bedroom HMO housing five tenants, with the sitting room and dining rooms let as bedrooms. The proposal before Members would potentially increase the occupancy to six bedrooms, which was not acceptable for reasons of both sanitation (since there was only one small shower and toilet for all residents) and impact on neighbour amenity such as parking on an already overcrowded street. The current site provides substantial light to neighbouring properties, and the application would reduce this, causing particular harm in the winter. Increased overshadowing and reduced privacy would have a significant negative impact on residents, who have the right to peaceful enjoyment of their homes.

Speaking in objection to the application as Ward Member, Cllr. Willingham echoed his constituent’s concerns about overdevelopment and highlighted a number of technical concerns. The plans showed four double bedrooms, each containing a double bed, which suggested that the dwelling was intended to accommodate eight people. The sanitation provision was clearly inadequate for eight people, and would represent unsanitary living conditions. He asked the committee to give due regard to the provisions of Schedule 3 of the Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation and Other Houses (Miscellaneous Provisions) (England) Regulations of 2006, in respect of toilet provision for HMOs. In terms of policy reasons for refusal, this was covered by NPPF 92.

Member questions

One Member asked whether there were grounds for refusal without appeal. The Chair responded that this was for the committee to decide.

One Member acknowledged that there was no minimum room size standard, but felt that it ought to be refused nonetheless. Could it be refused due to the lack of sanitation? The Interim Head of Planning responded that it could not, since these matters were up to the licensing regime. A HMO licence had a minimum space standard, but this was not a matter for this committee. There were also national space standards, but they only applied to new dwellings and not to extensions.

Member debate

One Member suggested it was unacceptable in the 21st century to be granting permission for properties where people would live like this. They needed more robust enforcement powers, and ought to refuse it on the basis of human rights. Proper accommodation must be provided for people who could not buy a house, but this was not good enough. The Chair noted that this was not an avenue open to the committee.

One Member described it as a shocking application which they would have been embarrassed to submit. They suggested refusal on SD14, which required high quality of development, and challenged the applicant to take it to appeal. Another Member stressed that one shower and toilet for up to eight people was unacceptable.

The Planning Officer clarified that as it was a domestic extension that Members were considering, not a HMO. The Interim Head of Planning explained that if the property were occupied by five or more people, then it would become a HMO and require a license, which it would not receive if the conditions were as bad as Members had suggested. Some of the concerns expressed by Members had been outside the scope of the committee, and were licensing matters.

One Member asked whether overdevelopment would be an adequate reason to refuse. The Planning Officer responded that amenity issues were discussed in the report, and that it both passed the 45 degree light test and benefitted from  permitted development rights. She was confident that it would not reach the bar for overdevelopment.

There being no further comments, the Chair moved to the vote on the officer recommendation to permit.

FOR: 0




The officer recommendation having been rejected, the Chair moved to the vote to refuse on grounds of SD14 and NPPF paragraph 126.

FOR: 8




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