Portsmouth residents fear HMOs will make parking worse

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CONCERNED residents in North End are hoping the council will scrap plans for new houses of multiple occupancy (HMO) on their road amid fears about parking.

Two three-bedroom properties on Wadham Road could house up to 24 people if proposals are approved, with seven bedrooms in one and five in the other.

From left, Jeanette Mudd, Clare and Ben George, Rachel Lowe, Roy Herbert and Steph Callaway outside 37 Wadham Road. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

From left, Jeanette Mudd, Clare and Ben George, Rachel Lowe, Roy Herbert and Steph Callaway outside 37 Wadham Road. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

The developer, represented by Thorns Young Ltd, was granted permission in April to change number 37 Wadham Road into an HMO, although the amount of bedrooms was unspecified.

Work on the property has already started despite is not yet having approval for the proposed seven bedrooms. And at the other end of the street, number 69 is up for a conversion with work is yet to begin.

Between them the projects have received 34 objections from locals as well as a petition signed by 85 residents of the street, most of them worried about the lack of parking spaces on the road.

Ben George, 43, said: 'I was coming home about a month ago and I saw the green slip up high. When I saw it said that the house was being changed to a five bedroom HMO I thought 'good God.'

'It is not that I am upset about finding homes for people who need them but this just isn't the right street. It will put extreme pressure on services and amenities. The water pressure down this road is already awful.

'There is already not enough parking. We have to park near Mayfield School which is a couple of streets over.

'It doesn't just affect Wadham Road. Because there are permitted roads nearby lots of people who don't live here park over here. This will push them onto other roads and the problem will continue.'

Jeanette Mudd, 48, added: 'I've got two young children aged six and seven and one of them is quite badly dyslexic and has ADHD so when I can't find somewhere to park it makes things impossible. I choose not to go out now. It is impacting on our wellbeing. My mum doesn't come to visit because she is so worried about parking.'

Rachel Lowe, 40, from Copnor started the petition on behalf of her mum who lives next door to one of the proposed HMOs. She was concerned that residents were left in the dark. 'Initially residents were not made fully aware this was going on,' she said.

'When I found out I knocked on every door in the street and only a couple of people knew, and they were the next-door neighbours. I don't think enough residents were made aware.

'Between the two houses that could mean up to 24 more cars if the rooms are let to couples. I don't believe one house should be allowed to have 14 cars.'

This might not be the case, however, as council officers have recommended that permission be granted on the condition that 39 Wadham Road only house a maximum of seven residents, only one more than it could under its current C4 planning permission.

The report stated: 'The proposal is to increase the number of bedrooms within the property from three to seven, allowing for occupation by seven people.

'Whilst the property only previously had three bedrooms, all of them were large enough for double occupancy and the C4 use would have allowed it to be occupied by up to six unrelated people. The current proposal therefore represents an increase in one person over the level of occupancy that would be allowed within the current C4 use. '

No such recommendation was made on 69 Wadham Road.

The decision on the houses will be made at a planning committee on July 25.