Landlord plans for a ten-bedroom shared house – with two bedrooms in an ‘outbuilding’ in the garden – in Earley have been refused by Wokingham Borough Council.

Kennett Investments wanted permission to turn a house on Elm Road into a house of multiple occupation, or HMO. But council planning officers ruled that the plans were unacceptable – as people in the two-bedroom ‘outbuilding’ in the garden didn’t have a kitchen.

In a letter of refusal, the council told Kennett: “The two units contained within the outbuilding would not provide a high standard of amenity or acceptable living conditions for future occupants by reason of the requirement to travel outside and access a separate building for basic day-to-day facilities.”

Plans originally submitted to Wokingham Borough Council said each of the flats in the outbuilding would have their own kitchens.

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But council planning officers were concerned that this would mean the outbuilding could be used as a new, separate house.

Kennet Investments amended the plans to remove the outbuilding’s kitchens. But planning officers then said this would result in a ‘poor living environment’ for the tenants. That’s because they would have to ‘leave the building for basic day-to-day use of kitchen facilities.’

They said the fact that neither option was acceptable showed that the plans amounted to an overdevelopment of the site, and that the outbuilding should not be used as a primary home.