Victory for residents as Portsmouth council rejects plans for two 'super HMOs'

PLANS for two house extensions in what has been dubbed a 'ladder' of shared homes in the city have been rejected following the pleas of frustrated residents.

Thursday, 9th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 9th January 2020, 10:41 am

Members of Portsmouth City Council's planning committee shut down proposals for two 'super HMOs' (houses in multiple occupation) in Playfair Road and Margate Road, in Southsea.

In both cases, which were seeking to increase occupancy to seven people, councillors ruled neither provided enough communal space for tenants and feared for the impact on neighbours.

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Montgomerie Road in Southsea which has almost 50 per cent HMOs is top of 'the ladder'. Picture: Fiona Callingham

Southsea resident and member of the East St Thomas Residents Forum, Hazel Taylor attended the planning meeting to object to both applications. She said: 'I live in a house with a HMO in front, one to the side and another to the rear.

'The negative impact - noise, rubbish and anti-social behaviour - is very real.

'We are not anti-HMO. We recognise they are an important part of the housing mix but if you wish to support mixed and balanced communities you can't keep approving them in the same area of the city.'

However, applicant Mr Pandya, who was looking to extend 11 Playfair Road, said: 'In the last three years we have experienced no complaints from the council on waste management or noise.'

11 Playfair Road, in Southsea, pictured in 2015. Picture: Google Street View

Playfair Road and Margate Road sit within an area known to residents as 'the ladder', which is bordered by Montgomerie Road and Cottage Grove, and has a high proportion of HMOs - averaging more than 60 per cent of homes.

St Thomas ward councillor Tom Wood also attended to make a deputation. However, he feared it was too little too late. He said: 'It's not so much a case of the straw that breaks the camel's back.

'Frankly right now the ladder is a camel with a broken back lying in the hay and we are waiting to dump more on its back.'

Cllr Frank Jonas agreed. He said: 'I have sat on this planning committee for 12 years and I have sat and watched homes in the ladder become super HMOs. I don't know how we can stop this.'

The committee concluded changes were needed.

Cllr Steve Pitt said: 'There are too many HMOs and sui generis HMOs in that area so we need a new policy.'

In both cases five councillors voted to reject the applications and one, Cllr Luke Stubbs, abstained.