Petition against multiple-occupancy in Hastings

Hastings Town Hall ENGSUS00120130430155142
Hastings Town Hall ENGSUS00120130430155142

People living in a ‘quiet neighbourhood’ in Hastings are objecting to a renewed bid to use two houses for multiple occupancy.

Hastings Borough Council’s planning committee is set to consider a retrospective application to use 3 and 4 Linton Road as HMOs on Wednesday (January 27).

Previous applications to use the houses as HMOs – shared houses occupied by between three and six unrelated people – were rejected by the committee and subsequent appeals thrown out by the planning inspectorate.

However, officers are recommending the latest bid is approved because extensions included in the previous applications have been removed.

“The inspector concluded that the change of use to an HMO was acceptable in principle, however, due to the overriding concerns about the proposed extensions the appeal was dismissed,” says the report set to be considered by councillors on Wednesday.

“These extensions have now been removed from the proposal and this application purely seeks retrospective permission for the change of use of the properties to houses of multiple occupation.”

People living on the road were dismayed to see another application for the houses.

A petition with 25 signatures has been submitted against the plans and eight letters of objection received.

Concerns raised included the number of multiple-occupancy houses already in the ward, increased noise levels, loss of privacy, the harmful impact on the area’s character, poor waste storage and insufficient parking.

“The impact of a proposed development on the social character of an area should be an important consideration,” wrote Tim McDonald.

“Clearly, the intended use of 3 and 4 Linton Road is quite at odds with the present quiet domestic nature of the neighbourhood and must be considered as totally inappropriate.

“Indeed, there have already been several occasions throughout this year when the noise from these premises, often late at night, has been unacceptable.”

According to the report, Environmental Health said there had been ‘no recorded noise complaints’.

Officers added while there may be a ‘slight change’ they did not think noise levels would rise to a point which would make the multiple occupancy unacceptable.

However, objector Kate Adams said there had been several times when noise had been an issue.

“On many occasions since my last letter of objection in August, 2014, we have had cause to complain to the residents of the properties, the police and HBC about noise disturbance,” she wrote.

“People living in the houses regularly use the outside like a public recreation area and have noisy gatherings that go on into the early hours and on some occasions all night.

“This causes distress and a very real reduction in the quality of life for neighbouring households.”

She said there was ‘no fault’ with the principle of making a living as a landlord but it should not be at the expense of other people’s quality of life and wellbeing.

“I am very annoyed that we are once again having to endure the stress and aggravation of objecting to this individual’s attempt to undermine and exploit this quiet residential area of central Hastings.”

Responding to concerns about parking, officers said the site is within walking distance of the town centre with ‘easy access’ to public transport.

The report recommends approval, subject to several conditions including plans for bin and cycle storage being submitted within three months.

“Although it is considered that the change of use would result in the loss of family-sized units, this was not thought harmful by the planning inspectorate,” it said.

“Should the members of the committee choose to refuse permission in this instance, it should be noted that, if the application were to be appealed, there is a likelihood costs should be awarded against the council.”

Hastings Borough Council’s planning committee will meet at 6pm on Wednesday, January 27, at The Sussex Hall, White Rock Theatre, White Rock.

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