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Turning former Manea restaurant into HMO now ticks all the boxes say planners

Fenland Council planning committee will hear 27 objections have been received

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Fenland Council planning officials have advised its planning committee that turning a former Italian restaurant at Manea into a house of multiple occupation (HMO) now ticks all the boxes and should be approved. Simon Howard of Howard Renovations Ltd will find out on February 7 if the committee accepts the officers assessment that the former Classics restaurant at 7 Station Road can legally house up to 12 residents.

Officer recommendation is to grant the application, but the matter is before the committee because of the number of objectors.

A report to the committee says the site has been the subject of 2 previous applications for planning permission both of which were refused.

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“The former was the subject of an appeal which was ultimately dismissed; however, the decision and its conclusions are a material consideration in the determination of the current application, and one which was not available at the time the 2022 application was determined,” says the report.

“The appeal was only dismissed on the basis of the identified harm to the living conditions of surrounding residents, with regards to noise and disturbance, in relation to the significant number of residents utilising the external amenity area.

The application is for full planning permission to change the use of the former Classics restaurant at Manea to a 6-bed HMO for accommodation of up to 12 residents.

The application is for full planning permission to change the use of the former Classics restaurant at Manea to a 6-bed HMO for accommodation of up to 12 residents.

“As such, the previously asserted overdevelopment of the site and impact of increased on-street parking demand on the amenity of surrounding residents can no longer be justified.”

The report says the current proposal incorporates acoustic fencing “which is considered to mitigate potential noise and disturbance to surrounding dwellings”.

When considered alongside the lower number of residents from the appeal scheme and absence of any additional identified harm, “is not considered to result in a significant detrimental impact.

“As such, the benefits of the scheme, namely the reuse of the existing building, effective use of land within a Growth Village and provision of affordable accommodation, along with the contribution of the proposal to the sustainability of the village, is considered to outweigh the less than substantial harm now identified”.

The application is for full planning permission to change the use of the former Classics restaurant at Manea to a 6-bed HMO for accommodation of up to 12 residents.

The application is for full planning permission to change the use of the former Classics restaurant at Manea to a 6-bed HMO for accommodation of up to 12 residents.

The application is for full planning permission to change the use of the restaurant and rooms (5 rooms with shared bathroom and WCs) to a 6-bed HMO for accommodation of up to 12 residents with shared communal facilities and outside space, involving associated works.

Ground floor accommodation is to comprise of 1 bedroom with en-suite, communal kitchen, lounge and dining rooms, entrance hall/lobbies, stores, 2 WC’s and shower room.

The first floor comprises 5 bedrooms, 1 with en-suite, utility room, 2 shower rooms, 2 WC’s and a bathroom.

Internal alterations are proposed to facilitate this.

“Externally the building remains broadly the same aside from replacement windows of the same design, the removal of a high level first-floor window on the west elevation and insertion of a first-floor window in the south elevation,” says the report.

“The accommodation is required, according to the submitted information, to provide temporary, permanent, and flexible living accommodation.

The application is for full planning permission to change the use of the former Classics restaurant at Manea to a 6-bed HMO for accommodation of up to 12 residents.

The application is for full planning permission to change the use of the former Classics restaurant at Manea to a 6-bed HMO for accommodation of up to 12 residents.

“An HMO is being applied for and as such would require a licence and be subject to the necessary legislative requirements.”

The committee will hear 27 objections have been received (all from Manea), in relation to the following:

– HMO not suitable for the village/not practical location

– Parking

– lack of and increased on street parking

– Transient nature of accommodation

– Already being used as an HMO/applicant has disregarded previous refusals

– Anti-social behaviour/crime

– Noise

– Light pollution

– Incidents occurred where police have attended

– Visibility and access problems due to location of site on a bend

– Proximity to school

– Concerns regarding an increase in residents over that applied for

– Application is now for additional resident (11 previously now 12)

– Farm workers could be accommodated in caravans on land on farm.

– Loss of residential amenity/privacy

– Concerns over safety, security, and site management

– Concerns regarding the use and condition of the outbuilding

– The use of the restaurant was restricted by its licence

– Discrepancies with the details submitted

– Refuse collection arrangements

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– Does not provide adequate external amenity

– Limited public transport and therefore reliance of private vehicles

– Further overlooking/impact from additional first-floor window

– should be obscure glazed and non-opening

– Removal of shed not indicated

Nine supporting comments have been received (8 from Manea and 1 from Peterborough), in relation to the following:

– Needs to be approved so property can be renovated; has been ongoing for 3 years

– Application addresses concerns raised by FDC

– Acoustic fencing has been added to reduce sound

– Number of occupants reduced by 33% from original application

– Improved garden area for retained 2-bed dwelling

– Highways have no issues

– Property is perfect for HMO use

– No yellow line restriction on road to prevent parking

– HMO’s needed

 

Environmental health officers say the “acoustic fence inclusion would certainly be welcomed and is often typical of what is requested by this service and/or incorporated by developers as a means of noise mitigation to protected the external amenity of residents.

“This coupled with the reduction in number of proposed occupants would certainly aid to reducing the likelihood of being contrary to the Fenland Local Plan as suggested by the Planning Inspectorate.

The application is for full planning permission to change the use of the former Classics restaurant at Manea to a 6-bed HMO for accommodation of up to 12 residents.

The application is for full planning permission to change the use of the former Classics restaurant at Manea to a 6-bed HMO for accommodation of up to 12 residents.

“I have undertaken many inspections of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and from experience, I’ve found that the rear garden areas are typically used less than those providing accommodation for a family, due to their very nature of by definition not forming a single household”.

Cambridgeshire County Council highways has raised no objections to the proposed development.

It says whilst the lack of parking provision is undesirable and would likely lead to an increase in vehicles parking on the highway, if permitted, they do not believe that this would have a detrimental effect on highways safety in this location.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary they consider this to be an area of low risk to the vulnerability to crime at present.

The planning committee will also not be able to suggest the property remains a restaurant.

They will hear that a statement has been provided by the previous owners, advising that the building was put on the market with a specialist commercial agent in March 2018 and then with a local agent.

“There were no viewings from the commercial agent from March 2018 until the sale of the building to the applicant who bought the building not the business,” says the planning officers’ report.

“There were only 2 other viewings, and neither were to purchase as a restaurant.

“The former owners had tested the market 12-13 years ago with 3 national hospitality agents, however there was no interest.

“The supporting statement advises that the pre-existing business was no longer viable, and it is understood this closed in 2019.”

The officers report adds: “Case law has established that the loss an existing use can be a material consideration where there is a likelihood that the use would resume if permission for an alternative use is refused, in this case it is considered unlikely as the business was not bought with the building and given the backdrop of the Covid 19 pandemic and impact on hospitality.

“In light of the above, the principle of the loss of the community facility is accepted.

“The proposal would reuse an existing building, make effective use of land within a Growth Village, and provide affordable accommodation.

“It is likely that residents would utilise shops and facilities within the village contributing to its sustainability, and the proposal would provide employment during the construction works.”

The report adds: “Previous objectors to the development proposals in relation to this site have raised concerns regarding the appearance of the site and it is accepted that the scale and nature of the occupancy could result in an untidy appearance.

“However, this is dependent upon the behaviour of residents (for example putting rubbish bags in bins rather than leaving them out for collection) and also the owners of the property to ensure it is managed properly.

“Furthermore, as the proposal is for an HMO it would be subject to relevant legislation including in relation to management and waste disposal.”

The officers report reminds the committee that the appeal was only dismissed on the basis of the identified harm to the living conditions of surrounding residents, with regards to noise and disturbance, in relation to the significant number of residents utilising the external amenity area.

“As such, the previously asserted overdevelopment of the site and impact of increased on street parking demand on the amenity of surrounding residents can no longer be justified,” says the report.

“The current proposal incorporates acoustic fencing which is considered to mitigate potential noise and disturbance to surrounding dwellings, and when considered alongside the lower number of residents from the appeal scheme and absence of any additional identified harm, is not considered to result in a significant detrimental impact.

“In conclusion, the benefits of the scheme, namely the reuse of the existing building, effective use of land within a Growth Village and provision affordable accommodation, along with the contribution of the proposal to the sustainability of the village is considered to outweigh the less than substantial harm now identified.”

 

 

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