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Spalding HMO plan likened to ‘prison cell’ by councillors

Councillors slammed plans to create a HMO for nine people in the centre of Spalding.

Members of South Holland District Council’s planning committee raised a number of concerns over the application for 5 Stonegate, particularly over the size of the rooms and the impact on parking in an already busy area.

The application had been resubmitted after applicant Mr D Bowden supplied a parking survey and increased the size of two bedrooms to meet the nationally described space standards.

Plans to increase the number of people living in an HMO in Stonegate, Spalding have been refused. Image: Google
Plans to increase the number of people living in an HMO in Stonegate, Spalding have been refused. Image: Google

But, despite this, the committee felt that the rooms were still too small and were shocked that people would pay to live in the property, which is currently home to five people.

“It’s tantamount to living in a prison cell,” said Coun Bryan Alcock.

“An HMO doesn’t have to be like this. It seems to me that the only way to sleep in one of the bedrooms is to stand up.

“If we’ve got to give permission to something like this we’re coming to a wrong thing.”

Coun Paul Redgate agreed, adding: “It does not meet the standards we expect an individual to be living in.”

Councillors took issue with the parking survey which was conducted between 7pm and 9pm over three nights in January, stating that this did not focus on the busiest times and, therefore, didn't give a ‘true survey’.

Ward member Coun Mark Le Sage said: “This property is on a blind corner and the traffic parked along there makes it very difficult to see anyway.

“There have already been RTCs down there – and number 98 across the road currently has no garden wall due to this. It’s not the first time this has happened.

“The junction with Halmergate is very busy and twice a day there is an exodus of people taking their children to six schools which are all very close in that area.

“It’s an accident waiting to happen.”

Coun Andrew Woolf agreed, adding: “They are trying to pull the wool over our eyes there I think.”

Coun Le Sage also raised the issue of bin bags being left outside the property days before collection.

Chairman James Avery added: “I visited the site yesterday (Tuesday) and there were rubbish bags already there when I believe the collection day is Thursday.

“This shows us how the applicant means to go on.”

Councillors unanimously voted in favour of refusing the application.

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