A CONTENTIOUS plan to convert a property in a Newport residential street into a house in multiple occupation (HMO) has been refused, despite concerns over appeal costs.

Newport City Council’s planning committee delayed a decision last month on an application to convert a four-bedroom home in Ombersley Road into a six-bedroom house, due to parking concerns.

A HMO is a house lived in by three or more people, of which at least one is not related to the others, who share facilities such as a bathroom and kitchen. They are most commonly lived in by students and young professionals.

Four off-street parking spaces are required for the development under council rules, unless the applicant can show that those spaces can be accommodated.

Concerns were originally raised in a December planning meeting over the applicant’s decision to conduct parking surveys late at night on a Thursday and Sunday in August.


Under council planning guidance early morning surveys, when parking demand is likely to be at its peak, should be included.

The committee had requested that further surveys take place early morning on a weekday, but the applicant decided to lodge an appeal against the delayed decision instead.

By not carrying out a further parking survey Cllr David Fouweather said the applicant had “shown a total disregard for the views of the committee.”

He said: “It was not unreasonable for us to ask them to conduct a parking survey.

“The applicant failed to do this properly on the first occasion and then quite frankly refused to do so again.”

Council officers said however, that they were satisfied that surveys were representative of peak parking times in the area.

Cllr Val Dudley said that it was important to consider the people living in the area.

She said: “It seems like we are being asked to think about it from the point of the developer.

“Some people have lived in the area for years and they’ve seen the area decline.

“We do have to take into account other residents when we look at the parking situation and that’s the main one people are looking at these days.”

However, some concerns were raised in the meeting over potential costs to the council if the committee decided to refuse the application.

Cllr Malcolm Linton said it was important to consider the council’s finances.

“I feel that if we did go to appeal again the council would lose,” he said.

“We have got to look at the finances of the council as well as everything contained in the documentation.

“I feel on balance we are going to have to go with this.”

A planning report says that costs could be incurred if decisions are overturned at appeal.

The report says: “Costs can be awarded against the council if decisions cannot be defended as reasonable, or if it behaves unreasonably during the appeal process, for example by not submitting required documents within required timescales.

“Conversely, costs can be awarded in the council’s favour if the appellant cannot defend their argument or behaves unreasonably.”

The committee voted to refuse the application based on insufficient parking. An appeal process will now begin.