SOUTH GLOUCESTERSHIRE: Filton HMO ‘dread’
A daughter has expressed “dread” over a developer’s plans to create eight bedsits right beside the home of her 95-year-old mother.
Sonia Hughes has objected to Samuel Padbury’s plans to convert the semi-detached house adjoining her mother’s home in Filton into shared flat for eight people.
She told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the thought of eight students living next door to her widowed mother filled her with “dread”.
“With the best will in the world young people like to enjoy themselves and for a 95-year-old to endure this in her final years is unthinkable,” she said.
“I am greatly concerned for her mental health and well-being.”
Mr Padbury’s company Kasa Real Estate Ltd has applied to turn 15 Braemar Crescent into an eight-bedroom house of multiple occupation (HMO) for a maximum of eight people.
It comes after residents of nearby Northville Road campaigned to stop the tide of HMOs flooding their street, which lies to the west of the University of the West of England Frenchay campus.
Ms Hughes said the three-bedroom 1940s house adjoining her mother’s house is currently rented to a young family with a toddler, who are typical of the “lovely” and “family oriented” community in Braemar Crescent.
Her mother has lived in her home for more than 70 years, she said.
“When my mother was widowed some 30 years ago it was her sole objective to stay in the house she lived in with my father,” Ms Hughes said.
“She just wanted to stay and remember. She has a lovely garden, albeit small, and this is where she goes when times are hard for her.
“She is now 95, lives independently and is still determined to stay put.
“I just can’t imagine what living next door to eight students would be like. She is a quiet person, enjoying her garden and her immediate neighbours looked after her in the recent pandemic.
“Her life will change dramatically with the noise and disruption that students create.”
Fears about parking
Plans for a seven-bed HMO at 2 Braemar Crescent were approved last month.
Ms Hughes said she worried another large HMO would change the character of the small 33-house street and worsen an existing “major” problem with parking.
Parking problems were also cited by two other residents who have objected to the plans since the application was lodged with South Gloucestershire Council last week.
Mr Padbury has not responded to a request for comment from the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
But the proposal includes the minimum amount of parking for an eight-bedroom HMO, with four off-street parking spaces and covered cycle stores for eight bikes.
Consent for eight large HMOs in neighbouring streets granted
Ms Hughes said Filton used to be an area for first-time buyers but its character is changing as developers “snap up any properties that come on the market, out-bidding young people who have a limited budget”.
Since May this year, permission has been granted for eight large HMOs for seven or eight people in the area: one in Braemar Crescent, five in Northville Road, and two on Gayner Road.
Three of the consents granted for Northville Road were won at appeal, after the council rejected the plans and a planning inspector overturned the decisions.
The property at 15 Braemar Crescent can legally be converted to a small HMO for up to six people without the need for full planning consent under permitted development rights.
The planning application argues, therefore, that turning the family home into an eight-bedsit shared flat is a “modest change” and that it “adds to the variety of housing types available in Filton”.
HMOs that are occupied by five or more people must have a licence issued by the council.
The application says this requirement “will ensure that the property is well managed, and that the amenity of neighbours is not prejudiced”.
It also argues that any issues with noise and disturbance “can be dealt with through environmental protection legislation if they arise”.
Controls over number of new HMOs coming
South Gloucestershire Council is in the process of putting more rules in place to control the growing number of HMOs in the district and their impact on existing residents.
Its ruling Conservative administration is set to adopt a supplementary planning document that would prevent more than 10 per cent in a “locality” and 20 per cent within 100 metres of a property.
The new policy would also ban three adjacent bedsits and any conversions that would leave family houses “sandwiched” between them.
But until it is adopted as official policy, the applicant argues, the supplementary planning document should only be given “limited” consideration by decision makers.
It is not known yet whether the application will be decided by council officers or by a planning committee.
Announcing their intention to control the growth of HMOs in South Gloucestershire in September, the local Tory group said: “Recent years have seen an increase in HMOs, properties rented out to at least three people who are not from one household, across certain areas in South Gloucestershire such as Filton and Stoke Gifford, with the concentration of cases in some areas having raised concerns around anti-social behaviour, parking pressures, waste and recycling management and noise complaints.
“In an effort to stem the tide, South Gloucestershire Council’s Conservative Administration is set to approve a new Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) which will help to ensure new HMOs meet planning policy requirements with further guidance for councillors, developers and local residents on the impact on the likes of housing diversity, residential amenity and parking standards to prevent negative impacts on the character of the surrounding area and nearby properties.”
Words: Amanda Cameron, Local Democracy Reporter
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