Small community at ‘breaking point’ after another HMO gets planning permission

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A small community in Neath Port Talbot is at breaking point, a councillor has warned, after yet another house of multiple occupation (HMO) received planning permission.

The latest HMO, which is for a maximum of five residents in a semi-detached house, was approved by the local authority’s planning committee in Baldwins Crescent, Crymlyn Burrows.

It is the latest in a long line of HMO applications coming before the local authority in recent months.

Crymlyn Burrows, which is close to the new Swansea Bay University Campus, has become an increasingly popular place for HMO landlords and, consequently, students.

In Baldwins Crescent, the planning application brings the total in the street to three – or 10 per cent of its 30 properties.

Its neighbouring street of Elba Crescent has eight HMOs – 20 per cent of the street’s 40 properties.

Speaking at the planning meeting where it was granted permission, ward councillor Helen Ceri Clark said residents were fed up and upset.

She said: “I feel we have reached breaking point now.

“Every time a house comes on the market, you can guarantee it won’t be bought by a family, it will be bought by an HMO landlord who uses it as a business opportunity.

“Not only are there the ones which have an HMO use but there are others that don’t which have two students.

“This is a small village of 71 houses and every house that becomes an HMO has a significant impact on that village and community cohesion.

“Residents shouldn’t have to constantly make complaints about litter and noise and parking issues.”

She urged councillors on the planning meeting to “stand up” for residents and acknowledge the miserable situation they were in.

Unlike Swansea, Neath Port Talbot Council does not have an HMO policy, having adopted its local development plan one month before the new legislation requiring planning permission for HMOs came in.

Planning officers have previously said they are looking to fast-track one.

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They recommended the plans for approval, saying it was considered the addition would not be a disproportionate or an unacceptable over-intensification of HMO uses in the location.

Councillor Sharon Freeguard said the area had become an extension of the student village, while Councillor Arwyn Woolcock referred to HMOs as “mushrooming” in the community.

He said: “Unfortunately, until we have a formal policy I don’t know where we go.

“Our hands are tied. Our patience is getting stretched to the limit, I think a point will come when we draw a line in the sand.”

The plans were approved subject to conditions at a meeting on November 26.



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