At our January meeting, Jonathan McDermott of TPX told us of the updates to permitted development which would, in the example I gave then, allow a property owner to add 2 storeys in the middle of a block however daft and incongruous it may look. My example was the block in Arundel Street, Portsmouth which had one 'mid-terrace' shop/office available which would have met the criteria. That one has not come to planning yet but just across the road, the site of the old U Need Us shop is to get the same treatment, with a conversion to residential and 2 stories added – we will watch with interest to see its progress through the system.
A similar conversion is planned at the RNOC (Royal Naval Officers Club) in Queen Street where 2nd floor offices will become three 2-bed apartments.
Elsewhere, we have seen 6 applications for new HMO's and 2 applications for a Certificate of Lawful Use for an existing HMO – so hard to tell whether this market is growing or whether people are realising they need the appropriate approvals and are coming clean before they get caught. We will continue to report on developments in this area with the aim of identifying any trends.
There were only a couple of C4's applying for C3/C4, so maybe last month was not typical and difficulties letting HMO's were exaggerated. We also have 4 more super-HMO applications (C4-sui generis), 2 in the ladders and 2 off Fawcett Rd so student demand is still perceived to be there. Interestingly, one of last months super-HMO applications was thrown out at the February planning meeting. It met the space requirements and was only going from 6 to 7 beds, but apparently the kitchen was too long and narrow and the occupant of room 7 would have to 'awkwardly negotiate the space to get to the communal area' – another example of councillors assuming they know how these properties are occupied and used (See picture - main communal space is in the basement) - let us know what you think.
Also at that meeting, a rooftop conversion to Park House in Clarence Parade put forward by resident and PDPLA member, Jason West, was rejected even though it had 43 letters of support from local residents and only 1 objection. Voting was even (4:4) and the application was rejected by the chair of the meeting with his casting vote. The main objection appears to have been the use of glass balustrades along the seafront.
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