Home could be converted into 'high standard' house of multiple occupancy

East Suffolk Council's headquarters in Lowestoft. The council has lodged a scheme to change a residential three-storey...

East Suffolk Council's headquarters in Lowestoft. The council has lodged a scheme to change a residential three-storey building in St Peters Street into a HMO. Picture: Thomas Chapman - Credit: Archant

A bid to turn a home into a seven-bedroom house of multiple occupancy (HMO) looks set to be given the green light.

Change of use plans are being recommended for approval by planning officers, as a scheme "to accommodate some of the current rough sleepers who require this specialist, supported accommodation" is proposed.

East Suffolk Council’s planning committee north will meet via Zoom next Tuesday, January 12 to vote on a scheme that centres around the change of use of 141 St Peters Street in Lowestoft "from residential dwelling (C3) to a Sui Generis use - House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)."

With the proposal - submitted by East Suffolk Council - to change the residential three-storey building in the middle of a terrace in Lowestoft into a house of multiple occupancy, a planning report to councillors states: "The key Local Plan policy test for a new HMO is whether there are 'exceptional circumstances' to justify such a conversion, as opposed to self-contained flats.

"The proposed development will allow East Suffolk's Housing Team to accommodate some of the 10 current rough sleepers who require this specialist, supported accommodation. 

"Officers therefore consider that the principle of this HMO use carries significant public
benefit and represents a clear exceptional case where an HMO can be approved in order to provide much needed support accommodation for vulnerable people."

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The scheme forms part of the council's MHCLG bid to the government to secure capital and revenue funding to assist in the "additional housing requirements" as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the proposed HMO to be managed by East Suffolk Council Housing Services, in partnership with Orwell Housing, it states: "The proposal for 141 St Peters Street is to establish a high standard HMO that seeks to change the use of an existing dwelling to a HMO with seven en-suite rooms and creation of an onsite staff office with ancillary toilet facility to the first floor.

"The reasons for the HMO accommodation, there is a need to develop more single
person accommodation that is affordable."

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It recommends: "Authority to approve, subject to no new material planning issues being raised that have not already been considered."

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