A house overlooking Hereford railway station cannot be extended and turned into eight bedsits, a Government-appointed inspector has ruled.

Mark Clemmings of 50 Barrs Court Road applied in February 2022 for approval of a part-retrospective plan to convert the semi-detached house, with accommodation in the basement and attic, and to add a single-storey rear extension.

Herefordshire Council’s housing officials raised concerns that the proposed communal living room in the basement would lack natural light, while minimum room size requirements “could be a problem” in the case of the two proposed attic bedsits.


Local resident Brian Mee collected 17 signatures of fellow neighbours opposing the plan, which they said would increase parking on local streets, and could give rise other similar HMOs in the area, also with extensions.

In refusing permission last May, planning officer Simon Rowles shared the concerns over parking and accommodation, and added there were likely to be “far more frequent comings and goings [by] at least eight unconnected people”, giving rise to extra noise and disturbance.

Mr Cummings appealed, saying the attic rooms were well within regulation size, that there was indeed natural light to the basement, that the residents would have many alternatives to car transport, and that street parking would anyway be restricted by permit.


Planning inspector Rachel Hall agreed that “any change to parking availability would in all likelihood be minor”.

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She concluded that the main impact on neighbours would in fact be from the “modest” rear garden, would see “a noticeably greater intensity of use” from the “ten or 12” occupants likely in the house.

She also considered that floorspace in one proposed attic room was “heavily constrained by the sloping roofs”, and would not be of an acceptable size for a couple, there being no way of limiting it to a single occupant.

Mr Clemmings “has undertaken a considerable amount of work in converting the existing rooms within the house, including the attic bedrooms” Ms Hall added, making it “reasonably likely” that he would now revert to using the house as a six-person house of multiple occupation, which would not need planning permission.

The adjoining 51 Barrs Court Road is already a six-person HMO, Herefordshire Council’s register shows.