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14/03/2017

Appeal: No evidence that student HMO would cause antisocial behaviour

Loughborough University

Plans to convert a terraced house in Loughborough into a student house of multiple occupation (HMO) have been approved, after an inspector found no evidence to support the council's concern that it would lead to an increase in antisocial behaviour.

The house is to be converted from a residential dwelling to a three-bedroom student house to meet demand for student accommodation in Loughborough, a popular university town. The original application was dismissed by the council because of concerns over the number of HMOs in the area, and the supposed increase in antisocial behaviour and noise disturbances associated with student housing. 

Inspector Ian Radcliffe, assessing the case, rejected both of these concerns. Concerning provision of HMOs, Radcliffe noted the council's imposed threshold of 20 per cent HMOs in a given area. But he also observed that the most up-to-date assessment puts the level at just 9.2 per cent, considerably below the threshold “by any reasonable estimate”. Even in the specific area surrounding the appeal location, the figure was 13.7 per cent.

As to worries about antisocial behaviour, the inspector noted low incidences on the road in question and others nearby. He also found that the number of incidents in relation to student households was no higher proportionally than any other demographic. Although he acknowledged that the property was likely to be vacant at certain times of the year, he judged that the numerous non-HMO properties nearby would provide ample security. 

Inspector Ball also dismissed parking concerns, observing that the house's inhabitants would be less likely to run cars because the house is well served by buses and within walking distance to the university. The appeal was therefore allowed.

The inspector's report can be read here – for free.

Image credit | Shutterstock

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