Tenth HMO on residential street in Bishopston ‘would not lead to overconcentration’

There are already nine lienced HMOs on the 300 metre-long residential street

Neighbours have criticised plans to turn a family house off Gloucester Road into yet another house of multiple occupation (HMO).

Developers Planning Ventures are applying for permission to turn the four-bedroom house on Oak Road, Bishopston, into a six-person HMO. The house would be converted to have four single bedrooms and one double bedroom.

Initial plans were to squeeze eight people onto the Victorian terraced house, in a part of Bristol which has seen many houses converted into HMOs.

Despite the plans now reducing to six, the application has drawn many objections from neighbours. The house has recently been enlarged with a ground-floor extension and a roof extension, and originally had just two bedrooms.

It could be the 10th licenced HMO in Oak Road, a Freedom of Information Act request from BristolWorld to Bristol City Council reveals. There are also several in adjourning roads, including four in both Thornleigh Road and Ash Road.

Bristol City Council’s development control committee is set to likely approve planning permission for the new HMO on Wednesday, May 18. Several people living nearby wrote to the council with their objections, some relating to parking pressures in the local area.

There are nine HMOs licenced in Oak Road - this application could mean there will be 10

Suzanne Braggins, of Oak Road, said: “The parking on Oak Road and the surrounding roads is already extremely dangerous, with cars parked up to and around the corners, obstructing the pavement for disabled users and those with prams. “Adding another HMO on the road will significantly worsen this problem. These are two-bedroom houses and aren’t fit to be HMOs.”

Caroline Benjamin, of Beech Road, said: “Having lived in this area for 20 years, parking has never been as bad as it is now. Getting almost £4,000 a month to squeeze six people into one of the smallest houses in the city shows a sickening trend of financial gain over the quality of life, for those who have no other option but to rent small bedrooms.”

The property in Oak Road subject to the planning application

Council planning officers are recommending the committee grant approval for the plans. Council policy restricts developers from converting houses into new HMOs, only if the new conversion would result in more than 10 per cent of homes within 100 metres being HMOs. But only 7.8 per cent of homes at Oak Road are, according to a report to the committee.

The report said that while the loss of a family home was regrettable, “there wouldn’t be an overconcentration of HMOs in the area”, and the application was acceptable.