Is this fair?

See if you think the following represents consistent decision-making:

The conversion of a mid-terrace house in a student area of Cardiff to a house in multiple occupation for six persons was dismissed at appeal because it was likely to have a materially adverse effect on the character and amenity of the area (DCS Number 400-020-602). The inspector in this case noted that supplementary planning guidance prepared by the council recognised that concentrations of HMOs clustered in small geographical areas can cause problems. Consequently, it set thresholds above which it deemed that the concentration of HMOs would have an adverse impact on the community. In the appeal area the SPG identified an upper threshold of 20 per cent of HMOs within a 50 metre radius of the application site. Beyond that threshold the SPG indicated that HMOs should be resisted. The council’s evidence showed there were 30 properties registered as HMOs within 50m of the site which equated to 79 per cent. The inspector judged that a high proportion of young people, most of whom would be absent in the summer, was likely to affect the provision of community services and add to the imbalance of the housing mix in the area. He found that the cumulative impact of HMOs had resulted in negative perceptions of the area among longer term residents as well as those who might wish to move into the area.


The conversion of a mid-terrace house in the same student area of Cardiff to a six-bedroom house in multiple occupation was allowed at appeal, an inspector finding that there would be no significant adverse effects on the character or amenity of the area (DCS Number 400-020-601). In this case the council identified the area around the appeal site as one where 78 per cent of properties within a 50 metre radius of the site were HMOs. The inspector did not consider, however, that there would be a significant adverse effect on the local community, reasoning that many students remain in the local area during holiday periods to undertake seasonal jobs or volunteering activities, and many people living in the local area would take family holidays at these times.  She also reasoned that, because the existing concentration of HMOs already significantly exceeded the SPG threshold, there would be no fundamental change to the existing community balance. She concluded that the effects on the local community, cumulatively or otherwise, would not be significant.

We know that each appeal is determined on its own merits, that each turns on the individual facts of the case, di-blah, di-blah, but really, in all conscience, is this fair?

Section 11.2 of DCP Online concerns houses in multiple occupation.