Neighbors slam plans to turn Gloucester Road family home into another HMO

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Neighbors have criticized plans to turn a family home off Gloucester Road into another multiple occupancy (HMO) home.

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

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

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Although the plans are now down to six, the request has been met with numerous objections from neighbours. The house has recently been extended with a ground floor extension and a roof extension, and originally had only two bedrooms.

Bristol City Council’s Development Control Committee is likely to 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.

Suzanne Braggins, of Oak Road, said: ‘Parking on Oak Road and surrounding roads is already extremely dangerous, with cars parked up to and around corners, obstructing the pavement for disabled users and those with pushchairs. Adding another HMO down the road will greatly exacerbate this problem. They are two-bedroom homes and not worthy of being HMOs.

Caroline Benjamin, of Beech Road, said: “Having lived in this area for 20 years, parking has never been worse than it is today. Getting almost £4,000 a month to cram six people into one of the smallest houses in town shows a sickening trend of financial gain on quality of life, for those who have no choice but to rent small rooms.

Board planning officers recommend the plans to the committee for approval. Council policy restricts developers from converting homes into new HMOs, only if the new conversion would result in more than 10% of homes within 100 yards being HMOs. But only 7.8% of Oak Road homes are, according to a report to the committee.

The report said that while the loss of a family home was regrettable, “there would be no over-concentration of HMOs in the area,” and the request was acceptable.

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