Lack of parking “not strong enough reason on its own” to reject Milton Keynes HMO
A lack of parking in an old Wolverton street, with restricted on-street spaces, was not a strong enough reason on its own to block a five-bed HMO, councillors decided.
The difference between what the applicant needed for the property in Stratford Road, and what was already there amounted to just one-fifth of a parking space.
Instead, a plan to change the first and second floor of 14 Stratford Road, from a three-bed property to a five-bed house in multiple occupation (HMO), was thrown out because it doesn’t have enough storage for cycles and rubbish.
“The pavements are blocked by parked vehicles,” said Cllr Yvonne Cook, of Wolverton and Greenleys Town Council.Cllr Cook told Milton Keynes Council’s development control panel that the area is full of narrow, terraced Victorian streets with a lack of parking.
Committee members agreed, with Cllr Paul Alexander (Lib Dem, Newport Pagnell South) saying “it’s going to cause a major problem.”
But the committee’s officers said even though the parking spaces could not actually be provided on the site, and there are none anyway, refusing it on those grounds would be on shaky ground.
“Would that stand up at appeal?” senior planning officer Richard Edgington posed to the committee members on Thursday.
And committee chairman Cllr John Bint (Cons, Broughton) said: “We would probably be arguing over one-fifth of a space.”
MK Council’s parking policies say existing three-bed properties should have 2.33 parking spaces.
A five-bed HMO would, under council parking policies, need half a space per bedroom, making 2.5 spaces in total.
Even though the only parking outside the property, which is above the Post Office, is daytime one-hour parking, because the property is already there, it is assumed to comply with policies.
Cllr Bint said: “There is a parking problem, and it is a pre-existing problem, and so not a reason for refusing this. As a reason for refusal, parking is less likely to stand up at appeal.”
But council officers made a case for refusing on the grounds that an existing issue with refuse storage would be much worse if the change was allowed.
“Due to this lack of storage,” said Mr Edgington in his report, “there is an increased likelihood that the storage of waste may spill out onto the street, thereby having implications on the character and appearance of the street scene, and the amenity of adjacent occupiers.”
He added that there was also a lack of cycle storage space that was also against policy and a good reason for refusal.
Elected councillors unanimously agreed with their officers’ recommendation to refuse the application.