Appeal against a refusal of planning permission for the conversion of a house into an 8-person HMO

Appeal Allowed (Full Planning Permission Granted) on 9 February 2024

Hillingdon HMO

95 Harlington Road,

Council: London Borough of Hillingdon

In this case, our client wanted permission for a larger HMO (a HMO with more than 7 people, in use class sui generis).

The inspector noted that the property was already being used as an HMO and assessed the appeal on that basis. The main issue considered was the effect of the proposed development on the living conditions of the occupants of adjoining properties, particularly regarding noise and disturbance.

After thorough consideration, the inspector concluded that the proposed development would have an acceptable effect on the living conditions of neighboring occupants with regard to noise and disturbance.

The relevant planning policies were Policies DMH 5 and DMHB 11 of the Hillingdon Local Plan Part 2 – Development Management Policies 2020. These policies aim to protect the residential amenity of neighboring properties. They likely address issues such as noise, disturbance, and the impact of development on the character of the area.

Councils can be very hostile to proposals for new HMOs and they are quick to refuse planning permission, even if the proposal does meet local planning policies. Sometimes their objections are non-specific, like a generalised concern that the additional comings and goings might harm neighbours.

However, the National Planning Policy Framework insists that a wide range of housing types should be provided in each area, including smaller units and lower cost housing. HMOs are an important part of each area’s housing mix.

At appeal, inspectors are scrupulously fair and will spot where a council’s logic is weak and their arguments not robust.

If you have been refused planning permission for a HMO, do not hesitate to contact us for some advice.

You should also check out Martin Gaine’s book, Planning for HMOs, which is a great guide to HMOs and the planning system.

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