HMO request for former Broadstairs care home rejected by council

The property in Luton Avenue photo Daniel Esson

By Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Esson

A property labelled Broadstairs’ “largest HMO” has sparked fiery debate between residents and councillors.

Neighbours of the 16-bedroom property on Luton Avenue complain of late night parties and overflowing bins, but the owner maintains it’s “one of quietest houses on the road”.

Although the building has operated as an House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO), for the past two years with the relevant license, during a packed Thanet District Council meeting, members turned the bid for the official change of use.

Resident Ritchie Wilkinson told the councillors during the session last month: “No consideration has been given to the impact of disturbance on neighbours over the last two years.

“There have been late night parties, overflowing waste bins, wheelchair uses impeded by cars parked on the pavement.

“I have had to move my children into another bedroom because of shouting and foul language from the property.

“This building is currently the largest HMO in Broadstairs. Approval will likely lead to a proliferation of similar applications.”

Cllr Kristian Bright (Lab), who represents the Viking Ward, also attended to oppose the move on behalf of residents.

“Neighbours haven’t been able to enjoy their gardens due to loud music and antisocial behaviour by the residents of this HMO,” he said.

Cllr Steve Albon (Lab) suggested the building, which consists of two houses joined by an extension in the middle, should be used for flats instead.

He said: “We’re talking 16 single people? Come on, it’s not going to be 16 single people is it, don’t they have a life these people? Don’t they have partners?”

“You could double that so you could be looking at 32 people living here.”

Cllr Jill Bayford (Con), however, backed the move, arguing: “I think HMOs are essential in providing affordable housing for people who need it including professionals, who we do need to attract to the area.”

The application attracted 66 letters of opposition and 23 letters in support on TDC’s planning portal.

Tony Michael, planning consultant and agent for developer Steven Mayhew, attended the meeting, on August 16, to argue for the proposal.

He said: “For two years the building has been in operation and there has been no enforcement action nor investigations of any kind.”

“It should not be called a HMO, this is the main problem, HMO is a term people just do not like; it is co-living, a new concept.

“It’s not young people being noisy causing problems, late night issues – this is doctors, nurses, teachers, civil servants, immigration officers, customs and excise, some sleep during the day as they work night shifts so it is quiet, the other tenants respect and know this.”

In 2021 an application was lodged for change of use into a 17 bedroom HMO, but this was knocked back due to parking fears.

Mr Michael insisted, however, that those issues “have now all been addressed,” by the reduction of numbers and the removal of a planned rear parking area.

He added that the building provides “affordable but high quality housing.”

Speaking afterwards to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) owner Mr Mayhew criticised the decision.

He said:  “We have residents living in there that are on all different shift patterns and it’s one of the quietest houses on the road.”

14 Comments

    • Maybe this was why he was so vocal during the debate, trying to hold onto his political role? He is normally much more reserved…
      He made comments that were pure conjecture rather than fact based, and had not read the officer reports.

  1. What about the 16 residents that they want to make homeless, the drs and nurses who they will want to care of them if other home owners became ill at any time? I don’t expect they’ll care where the drs live then.
    What about the pensioners who will have nowhere else to go if they are evicted.
    The neighbours have done nothing but tell lies, they are just racist snobs who have no idea what they are talking about.
    Funny how their spokesperson had a party for the neighbours in his garden to celebrate the victory!! Hypocracy at its worst

  2. Largest HMO is the student Christ church campus 86 beds.

    I have heard the neighbours are the ones having parties.

  3. What really confuses me, Labour Councillors were elected on the basis to preserve local services and increase affordable housing, the first thing they do is reject an affordable housing scheme being provided to house Nurses, Doctors, Dental technicians, immigration officers.

    At least with the Conservatives and independents they would allow the process to be followed and respect the officers findings.

    Labour want to stop key workers and clubbed together with the Green Party.

    Watch the video.

    • I completely agree, it’s a prime example of Nimbyism.
      The building provides much needed, affordable living space for professionals.
      It provides valuable accommodation when rental properties are so hard to source.
      It has already operated well for two years.
      Really surprised that Labour rejected this when they are supposed to represent working people, the comments by Cllr Albon were totally uncalled for.
      It’s the term ‘HMO’ which carries a stigma, this is a great example of modern co-living space.

    • I haven’t heard or seen any proof the claims that most of the residents are mostly professionals, anyone?

      • Perhaps observing the area from outside the house might help clarify the situation for the people above commenting. I have personally met with the residents, including two retirees. While neighboring houses have generated considerable noise with house parties and BBQs, it’s plausible that other Luton residents may have misunderstood the situation and are singling out this particular house. I’m sure all residents would have had to sign a tenancy agreement that they legally have to adhere too?? It’s crucial to emphasise that, in compliance with GDPR regulations, personal information cannot be disclosed, protecting everyone’s privacy.

        There seems to be some neighborhood chatter and a collective unease surrounding this property. It’s imperative that people refrain from forming judgments based on outward appearances or professional affiliations. After all, must everyone be considered ‘professional’ to reside on this street? If your face doesn’t fit, maybe?

        Perhaps the property owner should explore the possibility of obtaining planning permission for redevelopment and knock the buidling, although it’s unlikely that any single solution will satisfy every resident. Satisfaction may remain elusive and then im sure they would be complaining about the noise.

        In my view, embracing co-living arrangements represents a forward-thinking approach, nurturing a sense of community while accommodating local retirees and medical professionals. Kudos to the owner for working diligently to make housing more affordable in these challenging times!

  4. There is a huge housing shortage and HMOs offer a cheaper way to live given the current cost of living and rent crises.
    From what I know the Landlord owns a few HMOs locally so has the experience required to manage such a scheme.
    Surely it’s better the building is occupied than left empty and a target for vandalism and squatters, de-valuing the property prices in the road and causing far more issues for the residents.

    Given that The Glenwood Hotel in Margate have just done a deal with the Government to house immigrants, perhaps that is an avenue that the Landlord should now explore. Local planning rules don’t apply to central government so they could easily take on the property quite quickly.

    Making 16 people homeless will not help the situation locally either and will place more pressure on the local council and the tax payer…Well done residents of CT10! I look forward to seeing what the Landlord does next to best utilise the property seeing as every other option he has put forward has faced objection!
    Good luck Mr Mayhew.

  5. Mr Mayhew and his cronies busy as usual writing comments on here. Interesting that they don’t use their real names this time not like on the letters of support for the application!

  6. We need more affordable and decent accommodation in Thanet. My friend who is a nurse at the local hospital lives here. I was amazed at the space, good condition and well managed property. Not to mention numerous kitchens, communal rooms and ensuites! This is a luxury compared to my HMO and im hoping to move here. There is always plenty of parking, most tenants dont drive, the local residents really are being dramatic (and they have their driveways dont forget) It sounds like people just dont like change, as per usual.
    How many nurses, staff and visitors did it have when it was a nursing home? Much more i expect.
    Help the low income people out! We are the ones teaching your children and making you better. We receive a low income where we struggle to buy our own properties. we deserve our own independence that these HMOs give us.

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