'Poor living standard': Plans for Harold Hill HMO blocked amid multiple concerns

HMO plans rejected

The house in Montgomery Crescent (pictured in 2018). - Credit: Google Maps

Plans to convert a three-bed home into a five-bed house in multiple occupation (HMO) in Harold Hill have been blocked.

The plans asked for permission to convert the three-bedroom property in Montgomery Crescent into five separate dwellings.

Havering Council rejected the application - made by Andrius Bespalovas - amid concerns over the size of the rooms and the HMO's potential impact on the local residential area.

While the emerging Havering Local Plan says the council recognises the possible "valuable contribution" of HMOs, they must comply with certain standards, and officers said this application didn't meet these requirements.

The council will support an HMO if the overall size of the original property is not less than 120 square metres, and where there is a communal space large enough for all the dwelling's occupants to use simultaneously.

This property - with a gross internal floor area of approximately 115sqm - falls just short.

Furthermore, the 12sqm communal recreational area provided did not meet the council's minimum of 16sqm for five residents.

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Havering Council said both factors would create a "poor living standard" for the occupiers.

Separately, the HMO East London Guidance says rooms for sleeping should have a minimum internal floor space of 8.5sqm and 13sqm for one and two occupiers respectively. 

The council found only three of the five rooms were compliant; Unit Two - at seven sqm - fell short of the one-occupier minimum and Unit Three - proposed to offer a double bed - was less than the 13sqm minimum required for two people.

It was also noted that although labelled a five-dwelling HMO, eight people could live there due to three units having double beds.

Havering Council concluded the HMO would cause "significant harm to residential amenity", alongside not being up to code for the occupiers.

The report by authorising officer Simon Thelwell read: "The scale and nature of the HMO is inappropriate in this residential setting and therefore is unacceptable in principle."