House in leafy street is HMO battleground
A four-bedroom house in an affluent street in Spalding has become a battleground between a landlord using it without planning consent as a house in multiple occupation (HMO), the council and residents.
Landlord Simon Edwards has eight migrant worker tenants at the Wygate Meadows property and says in a letter to the council the fact “that this is an affluent street should not matter”.
He says: “Just because the tenants are migrant workers it does not make them any noisier, dirtier or mean that they have activities out of keeping than with the English residents in the street (some of whom might be classed as a little racist) who all drive to work and pop in and out all day long going to the shops and golf etc.
“The tenants attend work on a daily basis by way of transport on push bikes which causes no noise unlike the many cars used/owned by the other residents on the street.”
But one resident, who asked not to be named, said the claim about racism was irresponsible and untrue.
She said residents are subjected to a lot of noise from the property, which can last five to six hours at a time on Saturdays when the weather is good.
“I suppose it’s because there are a lot of people there,” she said. “It’s not a normal social noise level. It’s just more of a constant shouting. “You get random bellowing and sometimes people singing along to their mobile phone music at the tops of their voices. You can’t go out into your own garden – so you go inside and even with the doors and windows shut you can hear it over the TV.”
She said her comments would be the same if it were English people living there instead of East Europeans.
The woman and a man, who also lives in Wygate Meadows, say noise disturbances continue until 10pm and 11pm on Saturdays.
Mr Edwards told us he’d had complaints about noise between 3pm-7pm but residents had “never informed us” of anything as late as 10/11pm.
He said he’d made spot checks and found noise to be “very, very low to hardly anything”.
The Free Press spoke to two men at the Wygate Meadows house on Friday, but neither wanted to comment.
South Holland District Council turned down Mr Edwards’ first retrospective application for a HMO in March this year, saying there was not enough highway parking.
But Mr Edwards says he has created an additional four off-road parking spaces at the house, taking the total to six, and points out there are no vehicles at the house “as originally promised”.
In its refusal, the council also said: “The proposed intensity of use would be out of character with the surrounding dwellings and would cause a significant and adverse impact on residential amenity by way of noise and disturbance and levels of activity out of keeping with this residential area.”
Mr Edwards has reapplied for retrospective planning consent. In his letter to the council, he says: “There were no complaints/objections made prior to the original application going in as there were genuinely no problems at the address and indeed most of the other residents did not realise it was an HMO.”