Inspector favours supporting justification over policy wording

In a recent appeal decision relating to ‘alterations and change of use to a 6-bedroom HMO’ the Inspector made reference to Bournemouth Local Plan policy LPCS24, which restricts the change of use to a HMO where 10% of the properties within a defined areas are already in such use. The underlying objective for this policy is to avoid the cumulative impact on the amenity of local residents resulting from high concentrations of HMOs.

The Inspector felt that, despite the area already exceeding the 10% threshold, the level of amenity would not be adversely affected by the modest increase in activity associated with the HMO as “there is little substantive evidence before me that the significant adverse impacts on the character or appearance of the area currently from HMO use, or would be exacerbated by allowing the change of use.”

The Inspector concluded that, whilst the change of use would not be in strict accordance with Local Plan policy LPCS24m, it has not been shown that the harm that would result from the change of use would conflict with the underlying objective of this policy, as contained within the supporting text, and therefore the Inspector allowed the appeal.

Author: Robbie Locke

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