A DECISION by Chester City Council to refuse permission for a large Victorian property to become a student house of multiple occupation (HMO) has led to an appeal.

The issue has arisen at a mid terrace property at 5 Brook Lane which Bouverie Ltd is hoping to convert to 11 student lets.

The County Engineer and Chester Civic Trust object due to lack of parking on the busy road which carries buses and HGVs to and from the city centre.

There are said to be “strong concerns” that any increase in parking would lead to cars being left in unsafe and unsuitable locations which would have a “severe” effect on highway safety.

Bouverie is only proposing to provide cycle storage, although tenants would be made aware that parking in the area is “extremely limited”.

A report describes Brook Lane as “busy at most times of the day, particularly during peak times in the morning and afternoon”.

Some unrestricted parking is available but this is “heavily used at most times of the day” owing to the large number of flat and HMO conversions which have already been carried out and the close proximity of Brook Lane to the city centre.

Refusing permission for the conversion, the city council concluded there were “exceptional circumstances” for demanding a higher level of parking than that proposed by Bouverie.

The company says the property has been refurbished to a high standard inside and out and would be licensed as an HMO.

It is “very unlikely” it would be occupied by a single family, they suggest and the use of the large house as an HMO would allow other properties to be occupied as family homes.

Given the busy road and the presence of businesses and other HMOs in the locality, they do not feel it would have a detrimental impact on general standards of amenity in the neighbourhood.

With public transport available nearby, they believe the property would attract non car owning tenants and any parking associated with the house would not be a problem.

Following the refusal of their plans, Bouverie has turned to communities and local secretary Hazel Blears who is to appoint an independent inspector to decide the issue on the basis of written representations.

Comments are due with The Planning Inspectorate in Bristol by Monday, February 2.