Two more large HMOs approved in Filton despite neighbours’ objections

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7 Northville Road, Filton (Image: Google Maps, via Local Democracy Reporting Service).

Councillors have unanimously approved yet another two large houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) in Filton despite fierce local opposition.

The town’s residents are “bearing the brunt” of new bedsits as more and more family homes are turned into shared accommodation, largely for students, a planning committee was told.

The decisions to grant permission for the conversion of both properties mark the latest episode in a long-running planning battle that has played out time and again with the same result over the last few years.

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Neighbours and Filton Town Council said the immediate areas around both houses – 7 Northville Road and 27 Third Avenue – were already swamped with HMOs.

But once more their objections were thwarted because new South Gloucestershire Council policies introduced over the last two to three years, that aimed to restrict how many new bedsits could be allowed in a street, only count officially licensed HMOs for five or more occupants – and there are not too many of these.

So the Development Management Committee voted in favour by 9:0 for both buildings to become seven bedsits.

Planning officers said car parking was not an issue despite residents’ concerns because enough spaces would be provided on the sites to meet council rules.


Ward councillor Adam Monk (Labour, Filton) told the meeting on Thursday 18th January 2024:

“We’ve had lots of applications for HMOs on Northville Road and I would question the density issue on this occasion.”

“There are potentially some unlicensed HMOs on Gloucester Road North which would border onto the side of this property.”

“I appreciate that each application has to be taken based on planning terms but the residents have to live with the consequences of your decisions, and parking on this road is exceptionally difficult.”

Committee member Cllr Mike Bell (Labour, Staple Hill & Mangotsfield) said:

“We’ve been flooded with HMOs in Filton for the last few years and it’s not the end of it, so people in Filton are bearing the brunt of HMOs.”

An officer said there were nine licensed HMOs out of 155 homes in the “locality” of 7 Northville Road, a three-bedroom semi-detached family home, which equalled 5.8 percent – below the 10 percent threshold – and 4.9 percent of HMOs within 100 metres, which was less than the 20 percent limit.

He said external alterations to the building did not need planning permission as they were allowed under permitted development.

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A report to the committee stated:

“The use of the property as a large HMO would not have any unacceptable impacts on neighbouring occupiers.”

“Whilst there would be some increase in noise as a result of the function as a large HMO, the use would still be residential within a residential area.”

Cllr June Bamford (Conservative, Hanham) said:

“I’m not too happy with it and I feel very much for the people who don’t want HMOs surrounding them but it is policy compliant.”

Cllr Monk said he had similar concerns about the property in Third Avenue and that the house was also “exceptionally close” to a primary school. He said:

“We already have horrendous parking problems there during school periods, so our biggest concern is around the safety of school users with an additional HMO on an already crowded road of rented properties.”

Photo of a house.
27 Third Avenue, Filton (Image: Google Maps, via Local Democracy Reporting Service).

An officer said the application to change the mid-terrace building from a small HMO to a large one was acceptable.

He said just 3.9 percent of houses in the locality were licensed HMOs and only 3.7 percent within 100 metres, well below the 10 percent and 20 percent limits respectively.

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The report to committee stated:

“Given that the access is acceptable, and a policy compliant level of parking is provided, then the development is acceptable in terms of parking and transportation.”

“Concerns relating to the nearby primary school and its impact on the existing on-street parking are noted.”

“As the proposals provide policy compliant parking which is sufficiently accessible, on-street parking would be less likely to be utilised by occupants.”

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Article by Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).

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