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Planning officers turn down proposal to change seafront guesthouse into an HMO

08 Jul 2024 2 minute read
Beachcomber guest house, Oystermouth Road, Swansea – Image: Richard Youle

Richard YouleLocal Democracy Reporter

Plans to change a guest house overlooking a Welsh beach into a large house of multiple of occupation (HMO) have been turned down.

The owners of Beachcomber guest house in Swansea said they faced an increase in competition from the likes of accommodation website Airbnb, the effects of inflation, and the low expectation of finding a buyer who’d be willing to work seven days a week for an income averaging less than the national wage.

Beachcomber is one of a string of guest houses and bed and breakfasts on Oystermouth Road, between Christ Church and Bay View bar and Thai restaurant.

They’re very much part of the Swansea seafront, albeit set several metres back due to the dual carriageway.

Applicant Deborah Baber sought to change the use of Beachcomber into an HMO for up to 10 people, with a residential unit at the rear retained and reconfigured.

Amenity space

Council planning officers said two of the proposed HMO bedrooms didn’t meet minimum space standards while two others looked onto an adjacent wall, and that the kitchen’s only source of natural light would be from a glazed door.

They added that the adjacent living room – for dining and socialising – would not be large enough.

The planning officers’ report said: “This would result in no reasonable provision for any communal seating area in which to relax, watch television, or entertain visitors, and would likely lead to occupants being reliant on bedrooms for relaxation and leisure time, which is not conducive to the objective of promoting good health and well-being.”

The report said no outdoor amenity space would be provided, adding to concerns about it being “over-intensive use”.

Planning officers also had privacy concerns for occupiers of the reconfigured two-bedroom residential unit at the rear, and said it would – like the main building – have no outdoor space.

In addition, they said its internal floor space fell short of minimum requirements.

Further concerns were raised by the council about parking, bike storage and space to store rubbish and recycling, and there were three objections to the plans from members of the public.

The owners of Beachcomber, who declined to comment on the planning decision, have the option of appealing or submitting a revised planning application.

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5 days ago

What housing crisis if the kitchen *OMG* only has a glazed door for light (like my owned flat)… I hope Labour tackle this constant ‘the answers no, now what’s the question’ approach in planning based on pre housing crisis sensibilities – especially when they go appeasing tourists eye candy over locals’ need for housing.

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