News: Politician complains that too many HMOs allowed in city

Mon, 02 Mar 20

A row is erupting in Swansea over the number of HMOs in the city.

Council leaders in the city want to implement a policy which means that of all properties within any 50 metre radius there can be no more than 10 per cent designated as HMOs; the only exception is the area close to the main Swansea University campus.

There are already an estimated 2,000 HMOs in Swansea.

However, various refusals by council planners for conversions of houses into HMOs have been overturned on appeal to planning inspectors.

Now council spokesman Rob Stewart has told the BBC that it "can't be right" that decisions made by "democratically elected members" were being overturned on appeal by officials.

Meanwhile the Planning Inspectorate said inspectors had to consider broader circumstances when making decisions.

Stewart says: "It can't be right that democratically elected members who know their communities well, have all the facts, make a proper decision, then get overturned by an unelected official in Cardiff who knows very little about the area, and who is supposed to be supportive of the policies and follow the policies we've put in place.”

A Planning Inspectorate spokesperson told the BBC that an independent inspector is appointed to consider each appeal and would "make their decision in line with the plan for the area unless there are material considerations that justify taking a different view”.

They continued: "This does not mean that they have disregarded the views of the local planning authority or local residents, rather that they have attributed different weight to the issues in coming to their decision.”

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