Relief as council turns down plan to convert pub into nine bedsits

Picture of derelict Cobden Arms, in West Street, Havant
Picture of derelict Cobden Arms, in West Street, Havant
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NEIGHBOURS say they are ‘thrilled’ plans to turn an old pub into bedsits next to their cottages have been thrown out.

An application was submitted to Havant Borough Council to convert the derelict Cobden Arms pub, in the conservation area of West Street, Havant, into a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) – nine single rooms with en suite bathrooms.

Despite council planning officers urging last night’s development management committee to approve the plans they were dramatically turned down.

Addressing the committee before the decision was made, Nicola Pointer, who lives next door to the property, said: ‘I’m really, really concerned about privacy.

‘My dining room windows are very close to the boundary wall and it means anyone could stand there and look into my property.

‘I’m going to feel absolutely vulnerable. I would like to know how you would feel if it was your daughter or granddaughter living alone next to a property like this. The type of residents would be transient, not people you would form a neighbourly bond with.’

Martin Critchley, the architect acting for the developer, said the location was perfect for that type of housing and added: ‘There is some considerable discussion about what HMO means. It is open market housing.

‘This is part of the mix of housing we actually need in a full, balanced community and having it in a town centre is where it belongs.’

But councillors didn’t agree.

Cllr Mike Wilson said: ‘The reality is there will be too many people. It’s going to be transient individuals there.’

The proposal was unanimously turned down on the grounds it was out of character in the area, would have an adverse effect on neighbours and was an over-intensive use of the building.

Speaking afterwards Miss Pointer said: ‘I’m thrilled. Common sense has been shown.’