Plans to convert a former hairdressing training salon into a house in multiple occupation (HMO) have been put on hold over parking concerns.
Last year, plans were submitted for the property in Front Street, next to the Framwellgate Moor and Pity Me Working Mens Club.
However, the bid for an eight-bed HMO attracted several objections over parking in the area and the potential of noise disruption.
On January 15, Durham County Council’s Central and East Planning Committee voted against planning officers’ recommendations to approve the plans.
In their discussions, councillors agreed the plans showed poor design and failed to provide enough parking – with only two spaces in a tandem garage.
Coun Mark Wilkes, who represents the Framwellgate Moor and Newton Hall division, said the plans failed to consider the needs of future tenants and the impact on the wider area.
Calling for the application be refused, he said the garage did not meet council standards around its width with “no realistic or safe parking included”.
“Given that the occupants are not likely to be related is it really likely that they would park their cars one behind another,” he asked councillors at Durham County Hall.
“I would suggest that at most, one car would be able to use this garage space yet there will be eight unrelated occupants with no guarantee that they will be students.
“The applicant can also rent this property out to professionals if they wish and we as a council could not stop that so there could be eight individual people all working with eight cars, perhaps even work vehicles.”
He added the “displacement of vehicles was a certainty” under current plans, alongside potential issues around bin collections from the property.
Planning officer, Susan Hyde, said the site was sustainable due to its distance to local services and public transport with a planning condition also ensuring that noise levels are managed.
A highways officer added there was several available public car parks within the area, with around 56 spaces available between the community hall and parish council.
When the hairdressing salon was originally given the go ahead by planners, a committee report states, a condition was included around building a car park at the rear which was never completed.
Due to the planning breach, councillors refused to accept the plans without giving the applicant an opportunity to explore this option.
Coun Owen Temple suggested this could include an electric gate with a garage functioning as a gateway to a car park at the rear.
The vote to defer the application was carried with one abstention and the final decision rests with the committee in future.
Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service