Agenda item


            The Committee was provided with the details of the application for a proposed House of Multiple Occupation (HMO), which had been requested to go before the Committee by a Member.


            DFI Roads and the Council’s Development Plan team had been consulted and had no objection to the application.


            The Senior Planning officer explained that an updated consultation response had been received from the Local Development Plan (LDP) Team in respect of the application.  The LDP Team had advised that the proposed change of use, if approved, would result in a total of 3 HMO units along Belmont Avenue.  The proposed change of use would also comply with the new Local Development Plan Draft Plan Strategy 2035.


In respect of the principle of the proposal at this location, she outlined that the application site was not located within an HMO Policy Area or Development Node as designated in the HMO Subject Plan for Belfast City Council Area 2015. Policy HMO 5 of the Subject Plan therefore applied in terms of assessing the number of HMOs in the area.  She advised that Policy HMO 5 stated that planning permission would only be granted for further HMO development where, as a result, the number of HMOs did not exceed 10% of the dwelling units on that road or street. She explained that up to 8 HMOs were permitted and that the 10% threshold would not, therefore, be exceeded.  The Members were also advised that the proposal complied in full with the HMO Subject Plan 2015.


The Committee was advised that three representations had been received in relation to the application, raising issues including the unsuitable use of houses with noise impact, traffic congestion and parking, devaluing of properties, the timing of the Neighbourhood Notification letters and considerable development in the immediate vicinity.


The Senior Planning officer detailed that the site was within the proposed Belmont Area of Townscape Character in Draft BMAP.  It was unzoned whiteland in the BUAP.  She explained that officers felt that the proposed rear extension would have a limited impact on neighbouring amenity and was considered to be sympathetic to the host dwelling, the proposed Belmont ATC and the surrounding area in accordance with Policy EXT1 of PPS7 Addendum and the SPPS.


            A Member stated that he had concerns regarding the neighbouring amenity, specifically in terms of parking and traffic movements, and that no parking survey had been submitted which the Committee could interrogate.  He also raised concerns regarding the small amount of private amenity space for the residents to share, which included a bin storage area.


            Moved by The High Sheriff (Councillor Hussey),

            Seconded by Councillor Spratt,


                                             That the Committee refuses the application for the following reasons:


1.     the impact on neighbouring amenity, specifically due to parking and traffic movements; and

2.     the poor quality and inadequate private amenity space for the prospective residents.


            The Planning Manager advised the Committee that there was no specific parking requirement for HMOs and that the site was in a relatively sustainable location, within walking distance to public transport and shops. Regard also had to be given to the current use of the property. He added that DFI Roads had raised no objection and was the highway authority for the City and, thus, it would be difficult to sustain a refusal based on that reason.  He added that officers would have concerns about evidencing the amenity space issue if a decision to refuse was to go to appeal.


            The Chairperson put the proposal to refuse the application to the Committee.  On a vote, ten Members voted for the proposal and, with three no votes, it was accordingly declared carried.


Supporting documents: