New plans for six-bedroom HMO near Sunderland city centre

An application has been submitted to Sunderland City Council for a six-bedroom house in multiple occupation (HMO) near Sunderland city centre.

The property, located at 2 The Retreat, near The Royalty Theatre, is currently an end of terrace property off Chester Road, near the University of Sunderland's City Campus.

Applicant Taj Realty Limited is seeking to formally change the use of the property to a HMO offering six bedrooms.

Floor plans show a proposed common room, communal kitchen and one bedroom on the ground floor, as well as four bedrooms on the first floor and one bedroom on the second floor/attic floor.

Most bedrooms would have ensuite bathrooms, with the second floor bedroom having access to a separate bathroom.

A planning statement submitted to council officials outlines the HMO development's aims, including "carrying out comprehensive internal refurbishment works to provide improved high quality, modern HMO accommodation that will appeal to a range of prospective tenants seeking such forms of accommodation".

The statement also notes that the property has been used as a HMO in the past, although the exact timeframe is not specified. Applicants say the new application would "formalise the use in planning terms prior to undertaking the internal refurbishment works".

The scheme's proponents have stated that the property does not have its own parking, and current and future residents are "reliant on the existing on-street parking on The Retreat, which is subject to a permit scheme".

However, they noted that the proposed changes would "not result in any increase in the number of bed spaces within the property and, as such, will not give rise to any increased traffic or demand for car parking on The Retreat".

It was also suggested that the likely tenants would be students due to the property's location, and the HMO would "contribute to the student experience and quality of life of occupants during the course of their time at university".

The planning statement further adds: "Whilst the application property could be occupied by a range of groups, it is considered that it is most likely to be occupied by student tenants in view of its location relative of the University of Sunderland City Campus."

"It is apparent that student occupants are less likely to have access to a car, particularly in view of the existing permitting scheme in place on The Retreat and the highly accessible location of the property within the Millfield area only a five-minute walk away from the university campus."

"The city centre, which accommodates a wide range of shops, services and community facilities, also lies within easy walking distance of the site, as well as nearby bus stops offering regular services to a range of local destinations".

Applicants have stated that the proposed plans will "contribute to the provision of a range of high-quality student accommodation options to support the continued growth of Sunderland University".

They further highlighted that the HMO would be "fully managed and policies will be included within tenancy agreements in relation to tenant conduct, including in relation to anti-social behaviour and noise", ensuring that the property is "subject to regular maintenance".

A verdict on the planning application is anticipated following the conclusion of a council consultation period.

The decision deadline for the application, as listed on Sunderland City Council's planning portal website, is June 25, 2024.

For additional details on the plan or to follow its progress, members of the public can visit the council's planning portal website and search for the reference: 24/00841/FUL.