Seven bedroom Littlehampton HMO is approved but concerns remain over parking

Plans to turn a Littlehampton property into a seven bedroom house in multiple occupation, or ‘HMO’, were approved with conditions on Wednesday (January 5).

Cornwall Road, Littlehampton
Cornwall Road, Littlehampton

The property on Cornwall Road can now be converted to include seven rooms, a communal kitchen, and an outside patio space.

Previous plans to turn the property into a nine bed HMO were withdrawn in July 2021 (LU/145/21/PL).

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Work already started

An inspection in November, found that demolition works to the garage and construction of an extra room in its place had already begun – without planning permission.

At an Arun District Council planning meeting, Isabel Thurston (Green, Barnham) called this ‘extremely disappointing’ and Billy Blanchard-Cooper (LDem, Brookfield) said it ‘left a bad taste’.

Amenity space ‘fit for dustbins’

Concerns were expressed over the quality of living for future residents with councillor Hugh Coster (Ind, Aldwick East) describing the outside space as a ‘place where you might put dustbins’.

Officers stressed that there would be a separate area for bins and that the outdoor space was ‘acceptable’.

But Ms Thurston said the council needed to ‘encourage more pleasant living spaces’ adding that HMOs are vital for providing ‘affordable living spaces for people in the town’.

Councillors also expressed disappointment over the removal of trees at the site.

Parking deemed adequate

There were 14 objections – including one from Littlehampton Town Council – calling the proposals ‘unsafe’ due to the level of parking and ‘lack of turning space’.

But the highways authority had no objection to the plans and said there is ‘no evidence’ that site access is unsafe.

Parking spaces have increased from three to five and there will be eight cycle spaces.

Despite national planning guidance, which recommends all new residential units should have electric vehicle (EV) charging points, a request by the developer to reduce the total number of EV points to one was accepted by council officers.

Planning committee members believed this would be ‘inadequate’ in future.

David Edwards (Con, Felpham East) said: “We’re just rolling over and doing what we think might be the best thing for the developer.

“We’re the planning authority here; we’ve declared a climate emergency, we want fuel vehicles off the road.”

Ms Thurston said there was a need to ‘future proof’ developments with features like EV charging points.

Officers explained that there would be no requirement for all spaces to have charging points as the HMO is not a new development, but a change of use.

More details can be found at the council’s planning portal using reference: LU/315/21/PL.