Woman's third bid to have guesthouse converted into HMO rejected

photo of Rhonadean guesthouse in Great Yarmouth

The Rhonadean guesthouse applied for change of use to a HMO, but was rejected by councillors - Credit: Google

A woman's third bid to convert a former seafront guesthouse into a house of multiple occupation (HMO) has been rejected - despite warnings that the tenants would face "severe hardship" if forced to leave.

An application for retrospective change of use for the Rhonadean guesthouse on Wellesley Road, Great Yarmouth into an HMO was discussed at a borough council development control committee on November 25.

The property, which was converted to HMO without planning permission, is subject to an enforcement notice dating back to December 2017 requiring use as a HMO to cease by January 2021. There are 18 let-able rooms currently in use. 

Two previous attempts to make the conversion official have also ended in rejection.

The most recent application, brought before the council in September last year, was dismissed by the planning inspectorate on appeal this February due to "oppressive and inadequate living conditions" for some occupants.

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zoom meeting of great yarmouth borough councillors

- Credit: Great Yarmouth Borough Council

According to council officer Rob Tate, though the applicant has made improvements to the property since then, with the new application proposing 12 rooms and greater communal space for tenants, it is against the borough's local plan to encourage a "concentration of HMOs" along the seafront.

He said: "The area has significant potential for the future, and should encourage the growth of family occupancy and professional offices.

"We know it faces challenges with limited parking spaces and a "run down" character.

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"There is tendency for former B&Bs and hotels in the area to become HMOs - leading to complaints and negative perceptions.

"A concentration of them isn't good for tourism."

But Graham Norse, speaking on behalf of the applicant, said forcing the closure of the HMO would put the tenants at risk of hardship.

Wellesley Road Great Yarmouth

- Credit: Google

He said: "When the applicant appealed previous decisions made by this council, the planning inspectorate didn't raise an objection to HMOs in the area. Rather, the issue was the living conditions of some of the occupants.

"But the rooms now meet the legal size requirement.

"There have been no objections from neighbours, and there is a local housing need for well-managed accommodation of this type."

While acknowledging there was no car parking for tenants, Mr Norse said the property was central with easy access to public transport.

He added: "Refusing this will present severe hardship to the occupants in terms of finding alternative accommodation."

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