Agenda item

Application 22/01053/FUL - Former Berwick Arms, 250 Bath Road

The Corporate Director - Planning and Governance recommends that the Planning Committee grants planning permission subject to the conditions set out in section 9 of the report.




The Committee considered an application for the change of use from residential dwelling (Use Class C3) to a 3-bedroom House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) (Use Class C4) at the former Berwick Arms, 250 Bath Road.


Reason Why Being Considered by Planning Committee


The application was originally referred to Planning Committee at the request of Councillor Denham on the grounds as set out in paragraph 1.2 of the report.


Report/Background/Late Papers


The report set out the background to the proposal, the site and surrounding area, the proposal itself, relevant policies, planning history and representations and consultations where applicable.


There were no late papers circulated


The application was originally reported to Planning Committee on 19th October 2023, but was deferred to allow for a site visit to take place and for a Car Park Management Plan to be submitted, which was attached as Appendix 1 to the report.  The officer report had been updated accordingly.


Officer Presentation


The information was presented as set out by the Corporate Director – Planning and Governance, in conjunction with a powerpoint presentation for the item.


The Senior Planning Officer informed Committee Members that an additional condition (10) had been added following the submission of the Car Park Management Plan in order to ensure compliance.


Public Representations


There had been no one registered to speak on the application.


Key Points of Debate


·        Concerns were still raised that the rooms that were originally bedrooms are now storage rooms of exactly the same size.  It was noted however that a condition (3) had been applied to say no more than 3 bedrooms to be added without planning permission.  The Service Manager – Development Management reassured Members that any additional bedrooms would require planning permission.  In terms of licensing arrangements, Strategic Housing Services would need to check and issue a licence in accordance with the panning permission granted.  Officers were comfortable with this and that the condition would be enforceable.


·        It was felt that the property was not appropriate for conversion as an HMO and some Members preferred to see it as 2 separate flats for family use.  It was commented that Stanley Road is the only point of access from Bath Road to Cherry Orchard which had businesses in the vicinity, car show room and day centre.


·        Concerns were still raised that the 3 bedroom HMO could eventually become an 8 bedroom HMO which would impact on parking in the area.  The Local Highway Authority representative confirmed that their assessment has been carried out on a 3 bedroom HMO which would require 3 spaces, but is currently a 4 bedroom dwelling with 2 spaces, therefore already deficient of 1 space.  She accepted that this was a busy area but referred Committee Members  to paragraph 111 of the National Planning Policy Framework whereby refusal on highway grounds could only be given if there would be an unacceptable impact on highway safety or impact on the road network would be severe.


·        The Service Manager in response to a question as to why a 3 bedroom HMO he stated that this was on the advice of the Local Highway Authority and officers based on amenity space and parking.  He referred Committee Members to condition 6 which related to the removal of permitted development rights which will not allow for any extensions or additions to be built without permission, it was considered that this would be unsuitable on this site anyway.


·        In response to a comment about the parking deficiency the Service Manager stated that this exists at the moment. With regard to enforcing conditions the Service Manager confirmed that resources are available, and although there may have been issues in the past, that is not now and he had no concerns about enforcing conditions if this was required.


·        The Chair did highlight that following the site visit it was noted how close the bus stops are to the site and the additional cycle parking available.  It was also noted when on the site visit that the proposed cycle storage has a steep ramp and a drainage cover in that area, the surface at the rear was also in a bad condition, which would cause accessibility issues.


·        The Chair referred Committee Members to page 18 of the officers report and the comments of the Local Highway Authority with regard to cycle parking which provided reassurance.  The Service Manager also referred Members to condition 8 referring to details of accessibility to be submitted in advance. It was noted that condition 4 was a repetition of condition 8 and would be deleted.


·        With regard to enforcement it was asked if the enforcement team would keep a watch and brief on the development following concerns raised.  The Service Manager stated that the applicant could be provided with an advance prior notice to be given to the authority of first occupation which would give officers the opportunity to visit the site and the internal arrangements.  This could be added as an additional condition if Members wish.  This was agreed by Committee Members.


·        Committee Members agreed that the proposal for a 3 bedroom HMO was preferred to a 8 bedroom HMO and this application would enable the authority to regularise what is being proposed.  The Article 4 Direction also allows the city to control the number of HMOs within a 100 metres radius.


·        Some Members felt that the proposal was an inefficient use of space of what is being proposed and what it is currently and considered this a detrimental step back, on balance of sustainability this is not sustainable and it was felt that this was not an improvement and was a loss of a family home.  The Service Manager stated that in terms of the planning aspect there was no policy that restricts 4 bedroom properties being converted to HMOs.  From a planning prospect there are no policies to change this from a moral point of view.


·        In terms of the site visit there was a discussion about the drainage and what else was below the surface.  The Service Manager stated that although condition 8 would provide the detail he could add an informative note for the applicant with regard to drainage and services.  This was agreed.


A proposal to approve the application had been made and this was seconded.  There being no further points made the Chair requested the voting of each Member of the Committee who were eligible to vote.  Following the recording of the votes the proposal to approve was agreed, subject to the deletion of condition 4, an additional condition requiring prior notice to be given to the Local Planning Authority of first occupation and provision of access, and an additional informative on drainage and services.


For - 7

Against - 2

Abstentions – 0


RESOLVED: That the Committee 


1.       grant planning permission, subject to the conditions set out in section 9 of the report, the deletion of condition 4, an additional condition requiring prior notice to be given to the Local Planning Authority of first occupation and provision of access, and an additional informative on drainage and services; and


2.       delegate authority to the Corporate Director – Planning and Governance, subject to consultation with the Chair and Vice Chair of the Planning Committee, to confirm the final wording of the above and issue the Decision Notice.






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