Shared home bid in Portsmouth gets rejected as lounge is 'too small'

Residents who object to proposals to convert 56 Shadwell Road, Hilsea, into a five bedroom House of Multiple Occupation. Val Russell, fourth left.       Picture: Chris Moorhouse           (120619-2)
Residents who object to proposals to convert 56 Shadwell Road, Hilsea, into a five bedroom House of Multiple Occupation. Val Russell, fourth left. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (120619-2)
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PLANS for a shared home neighbours feared would become 'another drug house' have been turned down after failing to meet space requirements.

At a Portsmouth City Council planning committee meeting today (July 17) councillors rejected proposals to turn a three-bedroom family home in Shadwell Road into a five-bedroom house in multiple occupation.

Almost 200 residents in North End actively objected to the plans with concerns about parking, noise and anti-social behaviour, but councillors ultimately ruled that the proposed communal area of the property was too small.

Neighbour Valerie Russell, who organised a petition against the home, attended the meeting. She said: 'It's not just the parking, it's the sewers, the noise and the extra rubbish.

'These houses are family homes not doss houses. We have just got rid of two drug houses in Shadwell Road. We don't need another one, which this is probably going to be.'

Resident Eric Smith added: 'Parking is at an all time premium on both sides of Shadwell Road with many residents having to park in other nearby roads.'

But agent for the project, Chris Parke, defended the application. 'We would only let five people in this property,' he said.

'It says double bedrooms because that is what professional people want. And it would be professional people living here, it would certainly not be a "drug den."

'You could easily have five people living in a three bedroom family home anyway.'

Councillors agreed they would welcome professional tenants to the home but decided the size of the living room, which fell more than five metres squared short of the standard, was unacceptable.

Cllr Claire Udy said: 'If you have left this at four bedrooms and increased the size of the living room this would have flown through no doubt. But the communal space is 25 per cent smaller than it should be. It's a shame.'

Applications for two other shared homes at 110 Stubbington Avenue and 24 Walden Road were also refused at the same meeting. Councillors ruled they were not acceptable as shared homes.

Developers have the option to submit revised plans at a future date.