Portsmouth residents say their area is ‘at breaking point’ because there are too many shared homes

FURIOUS Portsmouth residents are taking a stand against plans for another shared home in their road, insisting the area ‘is at breaking point.’

Tuesday, 5th March 2019, 9:41 am
Updated Tuesday, 5th March 2019, 10:45 am
82 Wadham Road, North End. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (030319-30)

Homeowners were frustrated to see proposals to turn number 82 Wadham Road into a house in multiple occupancy (HMO) after failing to overturn applications for two similar cases last year.

If approved the mid-terrace property could be home to up to six residents, which neighbours say will worsen the road’s parking and drainage problems.

Wadham Road resident Rosie Mileham, 24, said: ‘The infrastructure of this road isn’t designed for that many people. Last weekend there was sewage all over the street because the drains couldn’t cope.

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82 Wadham Road, North End. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (030319-30)

‘There’s no parking. I have got parking tickets in the past because I’ve had to park on double yellow lines when I get back from work after 11pm. I’m not going to park my car on the other side of North End and walk in the dark on my own.’

Residents rallied together last year when applications for HMO conversions at numbers 37 and 69 were submitted, however, both were approved by the council, adding to number 75 which is already a five-bedroom shared home. And within a 50-metre radius of number 82 are five known HMOs, some of which are in neighbouring streets.

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Residents fear new HMOs will impact parking

Twelve properties on the street have also been converted into flats, either two or three at a time, which Royal Navy worker Rosie says have the same impact as HMOs.

Residents outside 82 Wadham Road, North End which is to be considered for conversion to a house of multiple occupation, including Rosie Mileham, second from left, front Picture: Chris Moorhouse (030319-29)

She added:  ‘They say that a family home could produce just as many cars as an HMO or flat but that’s just not true. Even if there is a family of five it is unlikely they will all have a car, and some of these HMOs are for seven or eight people.

‘It’s not just the infrastructure. With the constant building work there is always dust and debris in the road.

‘The council should listen to what residents are saying about the situation, but they don’t seem to care.

‘People I have spoken to have got to the stage where they think nothing’s ever going to change.’

Her fears were echoed by Hilsea councillor Scott Payter-Harris who believed HMO planning rules needed to change. ‘It’s getting to the point where residents and councillors have had enough,’ he said.

‘It’s just becoming a free for all.

‘The problem is the parking policy for HMOs needs to be replaced because we can’t turn applications down on the basis of parking, or lack of.

‘And of course that road is subject to displacement from parking zones as well so they can’t find parking spaces to save their lives.’

The application garnered 22 objections, and no letters of support.

Resident Thomas Fox commented: ‘There are some 90 houses in Wadham Road, 25 or more of these houses are currently split into flats or HMOs.

‘This proposal will exacerbate existing parking problems in the local area and should be refused.’

Sim Manley, Portsmouth City Council development manager, said: ‘Wadham Road was assessed in January/February 2019. As the local planning authority we survey the local area by checking planning records, council tax records and data from our own HMO database before an application is considered.

‘Our parking standards set a level of two parking spaces for both an HMO and a dwelling house, so for this particular application extra spaces will not be considered. Likewise, the local planning authority would not expect the level of waste to be different between a dwelling house and a small HMO, and so the existing infrastructure would be suitable.’

The application will be considered at a planning committee meeting on Wednesday, March 6.