Agenda item - BH2019/02700 - 7A Southover Street, Brighton

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Agenda item

BH2019/02700 - 7A Southover Street, Brighton


              Change of use from dwelling house (C3) to four-bedroom small house in multiple occupation (C4) (Retrospective)


              Officer Presentation


(1)          The Planning Officer, Laura Hamlyn, introduced the application and gave a detailed presentation in respect of the scheme by reference to site plans, floor plans, elevational drawings and photographs. The application related to an end of terrace property on the corner of Southover Street and Hanover Street which had been in use intermittently as an HMO and as a single dwelling house. As its established use was as a single dwelling house retrospective permission was being sought for a four-bedroom HMO.


(2)          This application was a resubmission following the previous refusal by Committee that the proposed use, in particular, the kitchen, would provide insufficient circulation space due to the location of a WC. This application had been amended to include a kitchen in the main living space at the front of the property and laying out the ground floor room at the rear as a utility room. Proposed communal study rooms on the first and second floors were unchanged. The main considerations in determining the application related to the principle of the change of use, its impact on neighbouring amenity and transport issues.


(3)          Whilst it was noted that there was no dedicated lounge the overall provision of communal space was considered satisfactory with the provision of the study rooms. It was recommended that the layout be secured by condition and that the utility room, kitchen/diner and study rooms not be used as bedrooms at any time. It was considered that overall the proposal would provide an acceptable standard of accommodation for four persons and that a maximum occupancy of four persons be secured by condition.


              Public Speakers


(4)          Councillor Hills spoke in her capacity as a Local Ward Councillor setting out her objections in respect of the above application. Councillor Hills stated that the application site was located in an area where there was already a large concentration of HMO’s. In reality well above the 10% cap which was intended to achieve a workable balance between long and short term residents. The property was situated opposite the Phoenix student halls so would increase the existing imbalance between temporary and more long-term residents, would impact negatively on the amenity of those already living in the area and potentially serve to exacerbate existing late night noise and nuisance problems.


(5)          Mr Pearson spoke on behalf of the applicants in support of their application. Mr Pearson explained that the applicants had sought to address and overcome the previous reasons for refusal, in particular that the kitchen accommodation would not be of an acceptable standard due to insufficient space, with a layout which would provide circulation which was compromised further by access arrangements to the toilet.


              Questions of Officers


(6)          Councillor Childs sought confirmation of the number of HMO’s in the vicinity as anecdotally it appeared far higher than the number stated and included significant numbers of units of student accommodation which already gave raise to significant levels of late-night noise and disturbance. Councillor Fishleigh requested whether it would be possible to defer consideration of the application in order to allow an up to date count of the number of HMO’s to take place.


(7)          It was explained that an updated mapping exercise had taken place which indicted that there had been no changes since the previous application. There were 49 neighbouring residential properties within a 50m radius of the application site with two other properties identified as being in HMO use. In consequence the percentage of HMO properties within the radius area was 4.1% which was in accordance with Policy CP21.


(8)          In response to references made to the Phoenix Halls, the Legal Adviser to the Committee, Hilary Woodward, explained that Section 254 of the Housing Act 2004 gave a clear definition as to HMOs which the Council did not have the powers to amend or change. As Phoenix Halls was occupied principally by students at the University of Brighton and was managed by the University of Brighton it could not be counted either as a neighbouring residential property or as an HMO.


(9)          Councillor Bagaeen enquired whether complete refurbishment of the property would be required or whether it was proposed simply to refurbish the kitchen. If major renovation was required he was of the view that it could provide the opportunity require a higher specification than that currently proposed. It was explained that minor internal works only were likely to be required.


              Debate and Decision Making Process


(10)       Having sought clarification regarding any works proposed other than those to the kitchen/dining space and in order to provide a utility area, Councillor Littman stated that he considered that the previous reasons for refusal had been addressed.


(11)       Councillor Yates stated that reference had been made to the close proximity of the Phoenix Halls asking whether it would be possible to a management plan in place in order to seek to manage/control any potential noise or other nuisance which could result. It was explained that in view of the size of the property that would not be considered reasonable.


(12)       Councillor Theobald also referred to the concerns expressed in relation to potential noise nuisance and enquired whether it would be possible to add an informative to any permission granted seeking to control that. It was confirmed that could be done.


(13)       A vote was taken and on a vote of 7 to 3 planning permission was granted to include an informative in relation to noise control measures as set out below.


65.7       RESOLVED – That the Committee has taken into consideration and agrees with the reasons for the recommendation set out in the report and resolves to GRANT planning permission subject to the Conditions and Informatives also set out in the report and an informative regarding the control of noise nuisance.

Supporting documents:


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