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Durham HMO refused planning permission because of number of students in area

DEVELOPERS hoping to build a new student house in the grounds of a Victorian villa have been refused planning permission.

The proposal to replace a double garage in a with a three-storey house of multiple occupation (HMO) was rejected unanimously by members of Durham County Council’s central and east planning committee.

Applicant Timon Kaya had applied on behalf of Green Mountain Estates Ltd to build the property in the grounds of The Lodge, in Laburnum Avenue, Durham.

The plans were opposed by residents, local councillors and MP Roberta Blackman-Woods.

The application was rejected because it would have been in breach of the council’s interim policy on HMOs, as 64 per cent of properties within the site are in multiple occupation.

The developer had argued an exception should be made because there are so many HMOs in the area, another one would not cause further detrimental harm.

Councillor Liz Brown, speaking in opposition to the plans, said: “The developer seems to think this area is past praying for.

“There are a particularly erudite bunch of people living there who have described the difficulties of living in the area but they still feel there’s hope for the area.”

Cllr David Freeman said: “The surrounding area has 64 per cent HMOs so this further permission will make the situation worse.

“HMOs in Laburnum Avenue led to 19 police community protection orders since the beginning of this student year – this is the reality of what happens in areas of Durham city centre.”

Cllr Patricia Jopling said: “We are in Durham building copious amounts of student accommodation and we have to wonder whether it’s a necessary development anyway.”

Source: The Northern Echo