Wednesday, 13 July 2011

When is a 5 floor HMO not an HMO but a 'fantastic family dwelling'?

Forgive me for laughing. But seriously.

How many kitchens and bathrooms does one single family dwelling need?

The answer according to the owner, Dr Ali, of the Grade II Listed Georgian townhouse at 45 Hawley Square is 5. A planning application has been submitted for change of use from a Private Members Club to a single dwelling.

The applicant states in their Design Access Statement:

"The current owner of the looking to restore the building to its original purpose. Internally the existing layout requires little alteration to create a fantastic family dwelling."

I'm sure good Margate folk know a HMO (house in multiple occupation) when they see one. We've had enough of them to get rid of for the last firty years. If it looks like an HMO it probably is an HMO. Unless the prospective residents of this house will be so into cooking and bathing that they must have a kitchen and bathroom on very single floor, just in case they need to cook another snack or have a shower.



Photo: © Mr Peter Keeble English Heritage, 2006

The proposal to install this number of kitchens in terms of building regulations will require a degree of fire separation that would require an unacceptable level of modification to a Listed building. It's probable that the owner imagines, that since the Coalition Government scrapped Labour's requirement for HMOs to secure planning permission to convert from a single dwelling, that this would be an easy ride. But you see, ownership of a Listed building comes with red tape and responsabilities. As an owner you often can't make modifications as you choose. This is why Listed buildings really don't make great rental property investments for the bottom end of the market. This of course is dependent on Thanet District Council enforcing the regulations.


Screen shot 2011 07 13 at 09 48 02


Screen shot 2011 07 13 at 09 52 06

If Mr Ali intends to create self contained flats he should apply to do so, which would require extensive fire and sound separation. Perhaps this will not be cost effective compared to the rent he will achieve out of small units on a busy Margate high street. There appears to be no extra refuse storage for 5 units. Conversion works to a listed building are not cheap.

You can view and comment on the application:

Search for applications: L/TH/11/0472, F/TH/11/0417

The Design Access Statement in full

List Entry for 45 Hawley Square



  1. Ali sure likes his kitchens!

    A kitchen in the basement, then a kitchen in the lounge- to russle up the odd crepe in the EastEnders add break? A kitchen in the 1s floor bedroom to cook those midnight snacks without going downstairs, and of course a kitchen in the top floor bedroom so the kids can cook their own TV dinner...

    Is Ali passionate cooking, or is he a slum landlord trying to sneak permission for bedsits through as a family home?

    Can I smell burning?

  2. Margate - Brought to you in association with swan vesta!