For some PPP Partners, planning applications are a major part of the purchasing process for their HMOs. In Liam’s case, he was able to call upon PPP’s expertise to ensure that his first planning application was approved.

"It's been a while since my last diary entry, but unfortunately we are yet to exchange on either property. Whilst there hasn’t been much to say on the purchase process, we did submit our (full) Planning Application to convert the existing six bed HMO to a 10 bed HMO.

The process of completing and submitting the planning application was a very straightforward one thanks to the help and support from the PPP planning team. The prospect of doing an entire planning application on our own with no background experience was certainly a bit of a daunting task. The PPP team provided us with a template and advice on how to complete an application that would be well received by the local authority.

However, we were in for a surprise. Unbeknownst to us, a particularly prominent former council member (ex-Mayor in fact) lives on the same street. As the property has effectively operated as a ‘house of ill repute’ – tenants were ex-prisoners, drug addicts and alcoholics - it has obviously earned itself a pretty bad reputation.

Unfortunately, it seems that rather than accepting that our planning application was to provide high quality accommodation for working professionals, the neighbours focussed on the fact that the number of occupants was to increase from six to 10. The ex-mayor had clearly whipped the neighbours up into a frenzy and eventually half the street had objected to the plans, and so it was no surprise that the application was referred to the Planning Committee – what happened to ‘moving along swimmingly’?

The Planning Committee hearing, which took place last week, was certainly an interesting experience and definitely an eye-opener in terms of what can happen when an application is referred to committee - especially if your opposition clearly has several ‘friends’ on the committee. Claire and I were the only attendees in support of the application and what felt like most of the street were there to object! Suffice to say, the application was eventually approved (after two votes) with a couple of conditions. However, this was in no short part thanks to the council’s lawyer, who knew (and was continually reminding the committee) that the objections being raised were not appropriate grounds to reject a planning application.

We did meet a few of the neighbours afterwards and reassured them of our intentions and that the planning application fully represented our plans for the property. Whilst they didn’t believe us initially, we think that they started to as they went home – we didn’t tell or say anything that wasn’t already included in the planning application. That said, we certainly gave them food for thought when we told them had the application been defeated, then we would have withdrawn from the purchase and the property would almost certainly continue to operate as it had been doing!

We now need to show our intentions through our actions rather than through our words."

Read the next Partner Diary from Liam -

Partner Diary - Our first set of keys

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