Controversy over latest house in multiple occupation (HMO) plan for South Shields

Plans for a new house in multiple occupation (HMO) in South Shields could be given the go-ahead next week.

Tuesday, 20th August 2019, 17:44 pm
Wallington Grove, South Shields. Picture c/o Google Streetview

HMOs refer to properties split into separate bedsits such as a shared house/flat or a hostel.

Elsewhere in the country, they have proved controversial as their use increases amid housing shortages and high rents.

Next week, councillors will be asked to approve a planning application to convert a property into a four-bedroom HMO in 19 Wallington Grove.

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The conversion would not normally require planning permission under ‘permitted development’ rights, but was called in by the council under a HMO policy.

This includes an ‘article four’ rule which aims to control the numbers and concentration of HMOs in the area, given it comprises of mainly family homes.

Planners have recommended the plans for approval with a final decision expected on Tuesday.

However, the planned HMO has sparked some concerns with Whiteleas ward councillor and vice chairman of the planning committee, Coun Doreen Purvis, also calling in the plans for decision.

According to a report prepared for the committee, she said the proposed HMO would be an “inappropriate development in a residential area and (would) be totally out of character.”

Coun Purvis went on to say: “It is an area of predominately social housing.”

In their report, planners have said the HMO proposal is”acceptable to its site and surroundings.”

A committee report adds: “The application site has sufficient space to accommodate refuse storage containers to serve the proposal or to provide it cycle storage.

“The car parking demands for the proposed use are not considered to be materially different or significantly greater than those of a residential dwelling use.

“It is considered that the proposed development would not be materially detrimental to the residential amenities of surrounding residential properties.”