Agenda item - BH2023/00469 - 2 Gordon Road, Brighton - Full Planning

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Agenda item

BH2023/00469 - 2 Gordon Road, Brighton - Full Planning


1.       The Planning Manager introduced the application. As Councillor Loughran (Chair), would be speaking in her capacity as a Local Ward Councillor she vacated the Chair which was then occupied by Councillor Allen the Deputy Chair for consideration of this application.




2.       Ms Melly spoke as a local resident setting out neighbours’ objections. She was accompanied Ms West and Mr Bradford who were also local residents. Ms Melly stated that this had been in use as a HMO, mainly student accommodation for 18 years and had given rise to considerable noise and other nuisance e.g., anti-social behaviour and accumulation of rubbish which was detrimental to mental and physical health. The proposed use which would intensify the existing use would be overdevelopment and would increase any existing problems. This was not a suitable property for such use on a residential street. Florence Court which was adjacent was occupied mainly by elderly residents.


3.       Councillor Loughran spoke in her capacity as a Local Ward Councillor stating that the proposed scheme represented a significant overdevelopment of a modest Victorian terraced property which was too small to accommodate the level of enlargement intended. The bedrooms on site would be very small, especially those to be placed in the roof space. It was not of an appropriate scale and would result in significant harm, overlooking and loss of amenity to neighbouring residents and have a negative impact on the neighbouring conservation area.


4.       Mr Olney was in attendance on behalf of the applicants, accompanied by other colleagues who were available to answer questions if required to do so. Mr Olney explained that St. Mungo’s had been providing this type of accommodation for over 50 years and had been providing services and accommodation in Brighton since 2015. They ran a scheme in Oxford Street currently and this accommodation was required to provide accommodation for those who were able to live independently and would free up their other homeless accommodation for others with a higher level of need. It would provide the opportunity to live within the local community for those able to go on to the next stage of their lives.


          Answers to Committee Member Questions


5.       In answer to questions the Case Officer explained that all of the bedrooms would meet at least the minimum size requirements by the space standards and were well within HMO agreed standards.


6.       In answer to questions by Councillor Nann the Planning Manager explained that in planning terms this was an HMO which could house all types of people, and no assessment of the level of care was required as no staff would be living in. Mr Olney confirmed that those placed in this accommodation would be carefully chosen, individuals requiring support but not as a high needs service. There would not be a 24 hour staff presence on site, but residents would be provided with a contact number for use in the event of queries or problems.


7.       Councillor Robinson enquired regarding the level of complaints which had been generated by this use at other buildings run by St Mungo’s. Mr Olney did not have that information to hand but was able to confirm that any complaints received were recorded and were followed up with the individual concerned. All residents were required to sign a tenancy agreement. It was confirmed that the impact would be exactly the same as if the property were to be extended as a family home.


8.       In answer to questions by Councillor Pickett it was explained that whilst soundproofing was not a requirement, the applicants had agreed for this to provide to modern standards and how this could be achieved would be discussed.


9.       In answer to questions by Councillor Cattell it was explained that the property was currently empty and that it would be refurbished, and all works carried out prior to new tenants moving in. If the site was a dwelling the works to the rear would be ‘permitted development’. The works being undertaken would result in a significant upgrade to the existing building. In answer to further questions, it was re-iterated by the applicants that contact details would be circulated to local residents and that arrangements would be put into place to ensure residents complied with their tenancy arrangements. It was noted that there was no requirement for a Management Plan to be submitted for a use of this scale, the applicants had however indicated a willingness to put various arrangements into place.


10.      Councillor Pickett asked whether a formal condition could be added relating to soundproofing requirements and the Planning Manager confirmed that this would be unnecessary as this would need to be met under building control requirements and would be disproportionate for allowing one extra person in the house.




11.      Councillor Cattell stated that whilst acknowledging residents’ concerns, the issues referred to appeared to be historic and did not relate to the current applicants or their proposed HMO use. The application would result in one additional bedroom but would refurbish the existing property. An HMO use was already in place, but this use would provide accommodation in the community for those who needed it accompanied by an appropriate level of support.



12.      Councillor Nann concurred in that view stating that this provided an opportunity to provide much needed accommodation which would be well run, with a regular interface between staff of St Mungo’s and those living there with arrangements in place to ensure that problems, if any arose could be dealt with quickly. A well run HMO would be a significant improvement on the previous student lets and he supported the officer recommendation.




13.      A vote was taken, and the 8 Members present when the vote was taken voted by 7 to 1 that planning permission be granted.


14.      RESOLVED – That the Committee has taken into consideration an agrees with the reasons for the recommendation set out in the report and resolves to GRANT planning permission subject to the Conditions and Informatives also set out in the report.


          Note: Having spoken in objection to the application Councillor Loughran left the meeting and took no part in the debate or decision making.


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