Plans to turn a family home in Hove into a six-bedroom shared house have been approved on appeal after councillors rejected the proposal last year.
The Planning Inspectorate said that 26 Glebe Villas could become a house in multiple occupation (HMO) although Brighton and Hove City Council’s Planning Committee refused permission by six votes to one last June.
The committee was notified of the appeal outcome at a meeting at Hove Town Hall yesterday (Wednesday 7 February).
It turned down the scheme after hearing from a neighbour, Andrew Robinson, and the Labour leader of the council Bella Sankey, who represents Wish ward which includes Glebe Villas.
Councillor Sankey said at the time that the six-bedroom house could become home to up to 12 people, resulting in overcrowding.
Mr Robinson said that he represented 20 neighbours who objected to the proposals because they were concerned about increased noise if the three-bedroom house became a six-bedroom HMO.
The applicant Steve Leung told councillors that a family could live in the house or up to six unrelated individuals but not up to 12 people.
In his appeal, Dr Leung said that it was a detached property so neighbours would not hear noise through a shared party wall.
A statement prepared by planning consultancy Lewis and Co said: “It appears that conjecture relating to the level of occupation led to an unreasonable decision being made.
“The appellant’s case is that the property is a suitable site within the local area to be converted to HMO use due to the low proportion of HMOs in the vicinity.
“No concentration of shared houses would occur and a suitably balanced community would be maintained.”
The decision notice said that the house was set back from neighbouring properties and the combined movement of the occupants would not be different from a large family home.
It said: “There are concerns that the proposal would result in an increase of anti-social behaviour. However, there is no evidence before me to show that this would be the case.
“I therefore conclude that the proposal would not harm the living conditions of neighbouring occupiers with respect of noise and disturbance.”
Dr Leung applied for costs but these were not awarded because the decision was not deemed unreasonable.
Luke Carter, director at Lewis and Co, said: “It was clear from the outset that the proposed change of use from a family dwellinghouse to a shared dwellinghouse was fully in accordance with the council’s planning policies and guidance and will provide a good standard of accommodation for the occupiers.
“It is unfortunate that the Planning Committee members voted to refuse planning permission, against the advice of their professional officers.
“And we are relieved that the government-appointed planning inspector has confirmed that there were no reasonable grounds to withhold planning permission in this case.
“This refusal and subsequent appeal has resulted in significant delays and additional costs for the applicant but we are pleased that this matter has been finally resolved and planning permission granted for our client.”