Plans to turn a house into a shared property with multiple occupants in Armley have been recommended for approval – despite concerns that the area is already saturated with similar properties.
Oakwood-based White Owl Properties Ltd wants to convert a house on Conference Road into a four-bedroom house in multiple occupation (HMO).
The application will be decided by Leeds City Council at next Thursday’s south and west plans panel meeting and is recommended for approval by council planning officers – despite concerns by Armley councillors Alison Lowe, James McKenna and Alice Smart (all Labour).
The councillors say there are already a number of flats and houses in multiple occupation in the Armley area and that to introduce more ‘will undermine the area’.
They claim tenants at the HMO would generate more waste, increase noise levels in the street and increase traffic and parking problems.
There are also three letters of objection from local residents, who raise a number of concerns. One objection reads:
“The area has a high level of social deprivation and community cohesion is already faltering here as owner occupiers are moving away from the area due to landlords buying up the housing and letting to tenants who struggle to engage and have a positive impact on the community.”
While council planning officers acknowledge in their report that there are already four HMOs on Conference Road they say there is not a high enough concentration of HMOs to the south of the railway to turn down planning permission.
“The site is close to local facilities and good public transport routes and as such is considered to be in a sustainable location.”
In recommending approval, the report concludes:
“Taking all relevant matters in to account – including the development plan and all representations received – the principle of the HMO on this site within the immediate location is considered to be acceptable in policy and planning terms and the impact on residential amenity is not considered to be, on balance, unduly harmed.”
The planning officer’s report can be read in full here.
Councillors will decide whether to accept planning officer’s recommendations and approve the application at the south and west plans panel meeting at Leeds Civic Hall next Thursday, August 3, starting at 1.30pm. Members of the public can attend.
What is a HMO?
According to campaign group the Leeds HMO Lobby, a HMO is a house shared by a number of unrelated people (like a shared student house). Any landlord could buy a family home and turn it into a shared house or HMO, subject to planning permission.
Tenancies tend to be short term (eg an academic year for students).
HMOs provide affordable housing options for some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in society, including benefit claimants or those on low incomes, students, young professionals and asylum seekers.
Leeds HMO Lobby fought for a decade to get tighter planning laws on student accommodation in Headingley and the wider LS6 area. New laws saying HMOs needed planning permission were introduced in 2010.
What do you think? Are there too many HMOs in Armley? Have your say in the poll and comment section below.