The family home in Corby being used as a TWELVE person HMO
The owner of a house in The Brontes, on Corby's Poets Estate, has retrospectively applied to Corby Council for the property to become a twelve person house of multiple occupation (HMO) with nine bedrooms.
It has been used as an HMO for some years, but after a change in the law, all properties that have more than six unrelated adults living in them must get full planning permission from their local councils.
People living nearby have objected to the change in use, saying that they believe there have been up to 18 people living there at times, and that their lives have been changed for the worse by the house being used by so many people.
A planning application for five bedrooms was passed in 2017, but locals say that nine bedrooms were then created without permission.
The applicant lives locally and has asked Corby Council to give him retrospective permission for the HMO. His application includes space for three cars and for a dozen bicycle spaces in a blocked-off alleyway. But neighbours say that the alleyway running underneath part of the house was a public footpath and should never have been blocked-up.
The council's environmental health officers as well as the county Highways Authority also have concerns about the scheme.
One neighbour said: "You're lucky if a tenant can get one car on the drive way let alone three, which leaves the tenants to park on pathways and the green in front of my house. The area at the front of this property is now being used a communal gathering and dumping ground when it should be clear entrance into The Brontes.
"The increase in antisocial behaviour from this property has increased over the last couple of years, which has resulted in a number of us reporting the occupants on numerous occasions for loud parties lasting all weekend that affect the whole neighbourhood.
"This has obviously occurred because of the number of occupants. I'd have to say last summer there was far more than 18 living in this property.
"This area was a lovely place to live with families and couples living in peace and quiet without any worry of what was going on around them. Everyone knew each other to say hello and pass the time of day with each other. But recently we all live in the knowledge that were all just waiting for the next disturbance from any number of houses that have been bought and have now become HMO rentals.
"It has become a nightmare in this lockdown situation."
Another local resident said: "Myself and others in the locality have observed that there appears to be more than the perceived twelve residents living at this address, which is not only misleading to the council, but also surely breaches fire and safety laws."
And a third neighbour added: "There is a lot of noise pollution that can go on into the small hours of the morning which has been reported to the police on multiple occasions.
"The drinking of alcohol that takes place has caused fights under the alleyway.
"Sometimes there has been an overflow of rubbish and bins with no lids that has caused us to have mice.
"The alleyway was blocked off by a previous owner, but should never have been blocked off in the first place."
The applicant states in planning documents: "Considering that there are no extensions or external alterations proposed to the property, it is believed that the proposed scheme does not have the capacity to pose a detrimental impact upon the character of the area.
"It is believed that the scheme presented achieves compliance against the minimum floor areas required for bedrooms."
The Highways Authority, Northamptonshire County Council, have objected to the plan on four grounds. Their officer says: "The pathway appears to be public highway. However the plans show it as having been stopped-up. No legal documents have been supplied to evidence that that this extinguishment of Highway Rights is legal and has been carried out lawfully."
The highways officer also says that there should be one car parking space per bedroom and that the supplied 'three' parking spaces at the side of the property are of a substandard size. There are also questions raised about the permission for vehicular access across the pavement and grassed-verge.
Corby Council's senior environmental health officer Alex Gratrix said: "At this time I would recommend refusal: The property will be overcrowded with 12 occupiers and there are not enough amenities (bathrooms, WC, kitchen) to legally and reasonably accommodate 12 people."