One of the significant milestones in most development projects is to gain permission from the local authority to proceed with bringing a site forward. This process presents a real opportunity for us to add value to our clients through both architectural design but also specialist planning consultancy too. I'm delighted to announce we've been successful at Northampton Borough Council's Planning Committee meeting yesterday, gaining consent for a change of use from a C3 residential class to a Sui Generis class suitable for a home in multiple occupation (HMO).
The scheme is for a property in Holly Road, Northampton. We initially sourced the property for our investor client as we keep a close eye on the local market. The property is a large family home, and we worked up a scheme to transform it into an eight-bedroom HMO. It was important to tread carefully on this scheme as the property is located within an area controlled by Article 4 Direction.
To ensure we had the greatest chance of success we worked closely with our local planning consultant throughout the process. We also engaged the local authority in two pre-app meetings before submitting a full planning application. The planning officer at the pre-app meetings identified our proposal to use the basement rooms for sleeping accommodation would not be supported - despite the visualisations provided below to illustrate the potential. She felt there would not be enough light and the rooms did not have a suitable outlook.
We worked with our client to revise the floor plan to use the basement rooms for living and dining space instead of bedrooms. This shift to the floor plan created new bedroom accommodation on the ground floor. Although we felt this would provide a lower quality standard of accommodation we do have to consider the authorities guidance.
Despite some opposition to the scheme from residents, Councillors and a considerable objection from the Highways Authority, the Planning Committee felt the project was in line with the National Planning Policy Framework and was approved.
We are delighted with the result as is our client. We look forward to working with the innovative investor behind the project to realise a fantastic shared housing scheme.
To find out more you can reach our architecture team here.