A HOME could be turned into student accommodation despite a disagreement over how many similar properties there are in the area.

An application has been made to turn Corner House, in Potters Bank, Durham, into a house of multiple occupation (HMO).

Planners from Durham County Council have recommended that the application should be approved, despite objections saying it should be refused because it breaches of the authority’s interim planning policy on HMOs.

Rules are in place to stop the conversion of homes into HMOs in areas where they already make up more than 10 per cent of properties.

Durham County Council’s spatial policy team says 8.8 per cent of properties within 100m of the Corner House are HMOs, while the City of Durham Parish Council, which objected to the proposal, says the methodology used to calculate that figure is “flawed” and is likely to be an underestimate.

Meanwhile applicant Nick Swift said that according to the county council’s HMO map, there were none in the same postcode as the Corner House and none within 100m of the property.

An objection submitted by clerk Adam Shanley on behalf of the City of Durham Parish Council claims some student landlords do not claim council tax exemptions to avoid having to apply for planning permission to convert properties into HMOs.

It adds: "We are very concerned that the methodology used to calculate the 8.8 per cent relies on the flawed assumption that all houses made available to students are measurable only via their council tax exemption.

"This is clearly not the situation: there are numerous known instances where house owners simply continue to pay council tax whilst renting out their property to students."

In response, the county council says a review of the methodology would not be required or appropriate.

A planning report said: "It is acknowledged that the council tax exemption data may not provide a perfect record of student occupancy.

"Nonetheless, the use of council tax data provides a consistent basis upon which decisions can be made."

At the same meeting, which takes place at County Hall, Durham, at 1pm today, decisions are also due to be made on the conversion of two other homes into HMOs.

One application is for a change of use from dwelling to a five-bedroom HMO in Dryburn Hill, which is recommended for approval.

The other is to change a small HMO in Whinney Hill to a seven-bedroom HMO, with a two-storey extension, which is recommended for refusal.