Doncaster Council throws out 'shoebox' HMO plan

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A scheme to turn a Doncaster home into four bed-sits labelled ‘shoeboxes’ by one councillor, has been unanimously rejected by the planning committee.

Councillors considered a plan to turn a property on Stanhope Road in Wheatley into a Home of Multiple Occupation (HMO) which include four single rooms with a shared living room and kitchen.

The application also included retrospective plans for two extensions that were already built on the property in anticipation of renting the rooms out in the home.

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The plan was brought before the committee on behalf of Town Ward Coun Tosh McDonald due to concerns over the proliferation of HMOs in the area.

Stanhope Road in WheatleyStanhope Road in Wheatley
Stanhope Road in Wheatley

Doncaster Council adopted Article 4 Direction policy in October 2019 which brings the application of HMOs under greater scrutiny from the planning committee after the borough saw a sharp rise in this type of accommodation in places like Wheatley and Hexthorpe.

Policy 10 of the borough’s Emerging Local Plan says that proposed HMOs must notresult in an over-concentration of the properties within a community.

Documents show that both properties on either side of the application are HMOs but planning officers said this didn’t apply because the properties were converted before the Article 4 Direction was adopted.

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The Stanhope Road has eight registered HMOs out of a total of 72 addresses equating to 11 per cent of the total street.

Councillors took issue with the amount of space each room had along with parking concerns. Members also took issue that the rooms were marketed for people in full-time employment which some said was ‘discriminatory’.

Coun McDonald, who spoke in opposition, said: “This would mean more people living in a small space and this brings the issue of parking - it’s a real problem in this area.

“It’s time we stop people living in less than standard accommodation where we wouldn’t want to be ourselves, we shouldn’t expect others to.

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“There’s nothing wrong with private landlords as long as they give good, quality accommodation, not trying to cram as many people in as possible.”“Quality homes for quality people is something I can fall on,” Sprotbrough councillor Jonathan Wood said.

“Shoving people into shoeboxes doesn’t do it for me quite frankly.”

Balby South councillor John Healey added: “I have great concerns over this HMO. There are far too many in this area.

“I’m not against private landlords but it seems to be ramming people into smaller and smaller spaces.”

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