Plans for shared house in ‘over-saturated’ Portsmouth street get go-ahead despite residents’ pleas

Residents angry about plans fro an HMO in Wadham Road, North End Picture: Chris Moorhouse       (030319-29)
Residents angry about plans fro an HMO in Wadham Road, North End Picture: Chris Moorhouse (030319-29)
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CONTROVERSIAL plans for another shared home in an 'over-saturated' Portsmouth street were approved despite the pleas of residents.

Developers were given the go-ahead for the conversion of 82 Wadham Road in North End into a five-bedroom house in multiple occupancy (HMO) at a planning committee meeting yesterday.

The application had attracted 22 objections from neighbours who were concerned about the impact on parking and the road's drainage system.

However, council policy meant that only two off-street parking spaces would be needed - no more than previously required - and since it did not have these when it was a family home this could not be enforced in the latest application.

Tory Councillor Jo Hooper questioned the rules. 'How can you work out that only two spaces are needed for a five-bedroom HMO?' she said.

'The reality is that residents could lift-share or be green and use the bus but really most want and need a car.'

Cllr Donna Jones was also sympathetic to residents.

She said: 'The impact on local communities from properties that are turned into shared homes starts well before the planning permission is granted.

'This home is already being converted and has created great concern. The parking supplementary planning document (SPD) is there for a reason.

'Is it right and proper for this committee to say we will accept that it can't provide two parking spaces just because it didn't have them before?'

But it was decided that a refusal on those grounds would be overturned by a government inspector.

For Independent Cllr Claire Udy the conversion would provide necessary homes. 'This is just a straightforward application for us,' she said.

'I don't think there's a lot we can do. At the end of the day we need homes for people. I live in central Southsea where there are HMOs everywhere and I don't feel like they impact on my life in any way.

'I have an uncle who lives in an HMO because he is on benefits and cannot afford to live in anything but a single room. For some people they are needed.'

Councillors also found that the property was not in breach of council rules which state there must not be more than 10 per cent of shared homes within a 20 metre radius, more than three HMOs in a row and they must not 'sandwich' a family home with another shared house.

Developer Edward Makgill defended the application. He said: 'We bought the property in December 2018 because it was perfect for use as an HMO. It was in quite a state of disrepair. We are fully repairing and refurbishing it.

'We are not adding extensions or changing the structure of it, because we want it to look as it always did and keep it simple.

'We have provided a bike storage shed in the back to encourage people not to drive.'

At the same meeting another application for an HMO, 243 Fawcett Road in Southsea, was turned down as its basement living room and bedroom did not have enough light or space to provide an 'acceptable standard of living.'