Significant Appeal Win Against City and County of Swansea’s HMO Policy

September 19, 2019

CDN Planning have won an appeal on behalf of our clients Higgihaus for a change of use from a Residential Dwelling to a HMO in Mount Pleasant.

The application to convert the three story end of terrace property had been refused by the City and County of Swansea because it would result in the ‘sandwiching’ of a residential dwelling between two HMOs. The ‘sandwiching’  argument is a significant element of the Council’s new HMO Policy H9 which was developed as part of the new Local Development Plan to restrict the number of new HMOs in a number of designated HMO Management Areas.

Graham Carlisle from CDN Planning argued that while the neighbouring dwelling was officially a C3 Residential dwelling, it was likely that this was also in use as a HMO and no objections had been received. He also noted that the fact that the building has been unsuccessfully marketed as a dwelling house for over seven months demonstrated that the only viable use for the building was as a HMO. Further to this, leaving it empty would encourage it to fall into further disrepair and create a negative impact on the neighbouring area.

The Inspector concluded in relation to the ‘sandwiching’ argument that he had ‘not been provided with any compelling evidence as to the negative amenity impacts for [the neighbouring dwelling] by virtue of it being ‘sandwiched’ between two HMOs. This calls in to question the robustness of Council’s new HMO Policy as it is now likely that other potential HMO conversions refused on similar grounds could be upheld at appeal unless negative amenity impacts can be proved.

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