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Overturned: council’s ban on hotel being converted into HMO

A COUNCIL ban on a hotel being converted into an HMO has been overturned.

Last year Bournemouth council turned down a bid to convert Earlham Lodge, at 91 Alumhurst Road, Bournemouth, into an HMO (house in multiple occupation), claiming it could damage Alum Chine’s reputation as a tourist destination.

However the applicant has now successfully appealed the decision, and the council will have to pay the costs.

Planning inspector Andy Harwood’s report states: “I have no evidence that the balance of the community will be harmed by the HMO.

“In relation to the main issue, the HMO has an acceptable impact upon the character of the surrounding area and its tourism function.”

He was critical of the council’s submission describing the tourism offer in the Alum Chine area.

The borough said according to the most recent figures, 22 per cent of visitors to Alum Chine beach during the summer of 2015 were staying overnight in Bournemouth, 50 per cent in hotels and 29 per cent in self-catering accommodation.

However the inspector said there was no evidence these people were staying in Alum Chine.

“It is not clear how the holiday accommodation is distributed or to what degree those properties are separated by residential accommodation,” he said.

“It is possible that some of these properties could involve use of rooms within dwellings rather than being solely holiday accommodation.

“The evidence is not precise or detailed.

“It is not presented in a form that helps me understand the geographical distribution of the holiday accommodation.

“From what I saw at my site visit, the largely suburban residential character of the area around the site does not appear to include a noticeably high concentration of properties that are clearly in use for holiday accommodation.”

Bournemouth council has already approved, in 2016, plans to convert the building to holiday flats, and recently agreed to drop a condition so the flats can also be used for accommodation.

The HMO bid last year attracted five letters of objection from nearby residents, chiefly expressing their concerns about potential noise, the loss of the tourist facility and the setting of a precedent for HMOs in the area.

Source: Bournemouth Echo