A LANDLORD has been told to close his unlicensed HMO after concerns were raised over the loss of family homes in Stanmore.

The property, 140 Stanmore Lane was converted from a three-bedroom house into a seven-bedroom house of multiple occupation in September 2018, without change of use permission, and in February last year Winchester City Council refused retrospective planning permission. In June the authority served an enforcement notice.

The main house contains six bedrooms with a kitchen/breakfast room, bathroom, and separate WC. The garage has been converted to provide a seventh bedroom with a shower room, toilet and wash basin.

Joint owner Paul Airey sought to overturn the refusal and notice on appeal, however the Planning Inspectorate has upheld the council’s decision, saying that the development would “add to the concentration of HMO uses in the Stanmore area, aggravating the apparent housing imbalance in the locality”.

Prior to the appeal the council raised concerns that an increase in the number of adult occupants at the property would result in an increased loss of amenity due to noise and disturbance.

But Mr Airey said that the tenants all aged over 25 “do not generate noise or cause disruption to neighbouring properties”, he added: “The use of an HMO for working professionals should therefore not cause tensions in the community”.

Mr Airey also provided statistics stating that the number of HMOs in the area stood at 20.6 per cent, only slightly in excess of the maximum stipulated of 20 per cent stated in council policy.

But in his report, inspector Timothy King said that although Mr Airey “has provided some figures and statistics in an attempt to support the appeal there is a lack of documented detail to illustrate this. A mere scattering of such does not provide a complete picture of the situation given the various factors involved.”

He also that although the council chose not to respond to Mr Airey’s case, he took into account its general planning strategy, and “the key aim of protecting the existing stock of family sized housing”.

In conclusion, Mr King said: “In this context the loss of family-sized housing, as has occurred from the development at issue, along with the clear concentration of HMOs in the Stanmore Area, is at odds with the council’s strategic objectives.”