Planning permission for Sparkhill property rejected amid claims it’s been operating as ‘noisy HMO’

A proposal for supported living accommodation at a Sparkhill property has been rejected following concerns over parking and claims the “cramped” property has been operating as an “unauthorised HMO”. The outbuilding at the back of the nine-bedroomed house on College Road in Sparkhill was converted without proper consent, planning documents state.

The outbuilding, which has two ‘meeting rooms and a lounge’ was constructed in the back garden and was first refused permission in Jan, 2022. The main semi-detached property consists of four self-contained letting rooms on the ground floor each with a WC and kitchen and a shared communal lounge.

There are three further rooms on the first floor with a toilet and a shared lounge. And two letting rooms on the second floor with a communal lounge and shower room.

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The applicant had applied for ‘retrospective change of use to supported living accommodation and part-retention of existing rear outbuilding with amendments to height and scale’ but in March, the council rejected their latest plea for retrospective planning permission following complaints. The outbuilding is subject to enforcement proceedings.

Residents and Councillor Nicky Brennan claims the property has been operating as an ‘unauthorised HMO for almost a year and caused anti-social behaviour, litter, vermin and noise in reports’. Some of the 14 concerns cited an oversaturation of HMOs within a 100m radius and a ‘loss of privacy as service users and staff were constantly using the shared alleyway’.

Inspectors said the rooms are “unacceptable”, “confined and cramped”. They said in a report: “Although the main communal lounge(26.4 sqm) is provided at ground floor, this would not overcome the fact that the existing flats would provide insufficient space for future residents to comfortably live within, store their possessions and furniture and do not allow for any circulation space for residents to move through these rooms.”

It added: “Consequently, the development provides a very poor, cramped and over-intensive internal living environment for existing occupiers by virtue of insufficient internal space which falls significantly short of adopted spacing standards, poor internal communal space and poor internal light provision, very restricted outlook and overlooking which is unduly harmful to the amenity levels of existing occupiers.”

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