Controversial HMO plans for Portsmouth's Chichester Road approved after row

“Carianne Wells should hang her head in shame for the part she plays in pushing through these applications”
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A director of a development company should “hang her head in shame” for the rise of HMOs in the city, a resident has said.

Plans to convert a home into a seven-bedroom house in multiple occupation (HMO) were given the green light by the Portsmouth City Council’s (PCC) planning committee on Wednesday.

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The application for 115 Chichester Road faced 63 objections, raising concerns over recreational disturbances, more demand for parking, and strain on local infrastructure. The North End road has been the subject of numerous HMO applications, sparking controversy among local residents.

Chichester Road, PortsmouthChichester Road, Portsmouth
Chichester Road, Portsmouth

Carianne Wells represented the applicant as a director of Applecore PDM Limited, the Southampton-based firm which drew up plans for the scheme and is known for numerous HMO conversions throughout the city.

She said that while she appreciates that HMOs have a “bad stigma” among residents they provide a much-needed housing type in the city, contributing towards “mixed and balanced communities”.

Councillor Benedict Swann said that the HMO would accommodate more than seven tenants. He then remarked on planning policies that fall short of addressing Portsmouth’s unique challenges as an island city.

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Speaking on behalf of a resident, Councillor Swann added: “Carianne Wells should hang her head in shame for the part she plays in pushing through these applications.

“The planning portal website has seen a rapidly increasing amount of HMOs from Applecore over the past three years. PCC does not seem to consider the cumulative effect of granting all these applications.”

In response, Ms Wells said some councillors hold “biased views” on HMOs and noted her efforts to invite them to visit completed homes, with minimal response.

Committee chair, Councillor Chris Atwell, expressed regret over the use of the “hurtful” phrase and urged fellow members to visit HMOs in the city.

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In closing, Cllr Peter Candlish said: “As far as I can see, this HMO is compliant with the law and the standards we set.

“We have to accept that there is a need for this type of accommodation and therefore we need to ask ourselves whether this particular application is a positive move or an unacceptable one.”

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