Families being ‘pushed out of Coldean’ by shared homes

15 Twyford Road, Coldean
15 Twyford Road, Coldean

Neighbours say they fear for their community as plans for a shared house in Coldean go before planners.

Fifty-five people have written to Brighton and Hove City Council to oppose the conversion of a family home in Twyford Road into a house in multiple occupation (HMO).

Victoria Griffiths, of Twyford Road, said: “Families in Brighton and Hove are crying out for available/affordable housing and they are being priced out or beaten to it by greedy developers trying to make a quick buck off of students.

“Why doesn’t the council work with the university to provide more halls of residence and appropriate student accommodation and give the houses back to the families who are invested in the community and the area because they plan to stay.”

She highlighted the impact on the local school should the HMO conversion be granted planning permission.

In nearby Moulsecoomb and Bevendean, which have been similarly affected by the growing number of student houses, three primary schools have suffered a significant drop in the number of pupils.

Currently, Twyford Road has no shared houses but the area is popular with students.

And while the first HMO could go ahead if the council’s planning committee backs the proposal on Wednesday (August 15), a second is in the pipeline.

Resident David Whitmore, of Coldean Lane, called on the council to do something to reverse the damage done to the community.

He wrote: “In the last 20 odd years we have seen a steady decline in our once peaceful and family friendly estate.

“Our community is being greatly negatively impacted by the proliferation of HMOs which are mainly populated by students.”

Hollingdean and Stanmer ward councillor Tracey Hill, Labour’s lead member for the private rented sector, has objected to the scheme.

Cllr Hill said: “This is a terraced house and the impact of the change of use on immediate neighbours is likely to be substantial.

“I have had many complaints, not about tenants who are particularly noisy but simply arising from a group of up to six adults keeping different hours from a family.

“This number of occupants sounds too high for this property.”

Cllr Hill described Coldean as ‘experiencing the negative impacts of HMO proliferation’ with residents complaining to her about about noise, rubbish and recycling and anti-social behaviour linked with shared houses.

Hollingdean and Stanmer ward has restrictions limiting the number of HMOs in the area to 10 per cent within a 50-metre radius.

After looking at the council’s HMO map, Cllr Hill said that she could see properties in Ashburnham Drive, Rushlake Road and Monk Close which could be within the radius.

Independent councillor Michael Inkpin-Leissner has also written to object, saying that families were being ‘pushed out of Coldean’.

He said: “The impact of this six-room HMO on the surrounding residents in this area of Coldean, the community and nearby properties will be very significant due to the nature and intensification of occupation on this site.”

A report by Anthony Foster, of Dowsett Mayhew Planning Partnership, for developer Brightonwight Developments, said: “HMOs play an important role in providing housing for young people and people who are socially or economically disadvantaged.

“Given the overriding level of housing need in Brighton and Hove, it remains important to ensure an adequate supply of HMO accommodation is retained.”

The application is due to be discussed by the council’s planning committee on Wednesday August 15 from 2pm.

The meeting at Hove Town Hall is open to the public.

Sarah Booker-Lewis is the Local Democracy Reporter for Brighton & Hove.

For more of her stories, click here.