Three more Northampton homes set to become HIMOs, despite warnings from highways department

Three homes could be converted into HIMOs
Three homes could be converted into HIMOs
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Three Northampton homes look set to be converted into House in Multiple Occupation as they are recommended for approval by the borough council's planning committee next week.

The applications for two houses in Castle Ward (one in Hunter Street the other in Cowper Street) are objected to in the planning documents by ward councillor Danielle Stone (Lab).

Cllr Stone called in the applications on the grounds of overdevelopment and pressure on services.

With regard to the Hunter Street proposal, she wrote: "Refuse in the area is undermining the efforts of both residents associations who are working hard to maintain a clean, safe, balanced and cohesive community. Double and dangerous parking being a regular feature."

Other objections to the Hunter Street conversion come from Northamptonshire Highways on the grounds of limited parking availability, and from four neighbours, themselves worried about parking and an increase in noise and rubbish.

"The cumulative impact from the high concentration of HIMOs in the immediate vicinity is contributing to the excessive demand," reads Highways' objection.

"This demand is resulting in parking on double yellow lines, across dropped kerbs, on the corners of junctions and double parking. The conversion of a residential dwelling to a house in multiple occupancy for five residents would further exacerbate the already severe impact on the HIMO properties in the area."

But the proposed change of use complies with the requirements on HIMOs, said town planners , who also concluded it would not result in an over-concentration of HIMOs within the locality and would provide suitable accommodation for the number of occupants proposed.

The committee referenced the parking concerns raised and decided that the regardless the proposal complies with planning policy and that any refusal on appeal would be difficult to uphold.

There were no other objections other than Cllr Stone's aforementioned concerns to the Cowper Street proposal.

In its conclusion, the planning officer wrote: "The proposed development would not lead to an unacceptable concentration of HIMOs within the locality that would adversely affect upon the character of the local area, street scene, or Conservation Area nor would the development have significant adverse impacts on neighbouring amenity or parking provision.

"The property is also of sufficient size to accommodate the level of accommodation as proposed."

The third HIMO proposal is in Southampton Road in Delapre and two borough councillors submitted their objections.

Cllr Vicky Culbard (Lab, Delapre & Briar Hill) wrote: "There are too many HIMOs in this area, and that any more would add pressures on parking, fly tipping and littering."

She also said a high turnover of tenants would unsettle the neighbourhood and the conversion results in the loss of a family home, a sentiment echoed by Cllr Gareth Walker (Con, Delapre & Briar Hill) who also raised his objection on the basis of parking problems.

Northamptonshire Highways advised that although in isolation the increase in demand generated by this development could be considered as minimal or negligible, it would argue the cumulative impact of similar “minor” developments need to be considered as a whole and that the impact on highway safety is severe.

Two neighbouring properties also made their objections known in the planning document but the planning officer concluded the proposal would not lead to an unacceptable amount of HIMOs in the area, nor would it adversely affect the area's character.