Residents’ dismayed as HMO plans are given the green light

3-4 Linton Road, Hastings. SUS-160202-092708001
3-4 Linton Road, Hastings. SUS-160202-092708001

Councillors have given the green-light for a house of multiple occupancy in Hastings, despite residents’ complaints of noisy late-night gatherings.

Hastings Borough Council’s planning committee considered a retrospective application to use 3 and 4 Linton Road as HMOs on January 27.

Kate Adams has lived at number 6 for 35 years. She said a built-up decking area had impacted on privacy and noisy late-night barbecues had made the neighbours’ gardens and back rooms ‘no go areas’ in the summer.

She told the planning committee: “I have called the police on several occasions and made an official report to Environmental Health.

“I reported, at two and four in the morning on two occasions, horrendous amounts of noise. It interferes with your quality of life.”

She added: “It’s down to the number of people in the house and their only place to have recreation in the summer is outside.”

Eight letters of objection were sent to the planning committee, along with a 25 signature-strong petition.

Applicant Thomas Branczyk told councillors he felt there was a “strong demand” for HMOs in the area.

He lives in number 4 and says he intends to continue staying there.

He said: “I’m there and I meet these tenants all the time.

“Of course I have my own private space, but they live around me and I’m comfortable with that.

“When I hear noise, I am the first one to ask them to stop making noise.

“The police never came and knocked at the door and said ‘please stop the noise’.”

He said there was a wall separating the two gardens, but he had reduced the height of the wall.

The council said it had received no records of any noise complaints.

Number 3 can accommodate an additional nine people, while number 4 can accommodate 15 people.

Cllr Bruce Dowling said: “This council’s housing officer said no more than five people should be sharing a kitchen. “We have been talking about the possibility of 15 people in that property. That’s a little bit more than five. Are we going against our own council’s recommendations?”

A planning application to change the use of the buildings, which included plans for an extension, had previously been turned down by the council. Mr Branczyk appealed to the Planning Inspectorate, but lost his appeal due to the extension.

The extension had been removed from the fresh application.

Cllr Sue Beaney proposed the council turns down the new application on the basis that approval would mean the loss of a family home.

But Cllr Michael Wincott said: “The inspectorate made it clear that the loss of family dwellings is not a reason to refuse this application.”

Committee chairman Cllr Richard Street added: “I have reservations about this application, but as said we have to follow planning rules.

“To reject this application on reasons not refused by the inspector is just folly.”

Cllr Rob Lee called the application “troubling”, adding “I find it very regressive in 2016 this application are coming before us retrospectively.”

Permission was granted seven votes to three, on condition the divide between the two gardens is increased.

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