CONCERNS are growing about growing number of large student properties following an application to add three new bedrooms to a terraced property in Durham.

Durham County Councillors will decide whether to approve plans for an extension to the house in Whinney Hill, to create a nine-bedroom house of multiple occupation (HMO).

Last month, councillors approved plans to allow a seven-bedroom HMO in nearby Elvet Crescent, despite concerns about large student properties .

Councillors were told at that meeting that the authority was unable to rely on the interim policy on student housing – introduced to try and stop the increased studentification of the city – following several appeal decisions.

The application for Whinney Hill is for a change of use to allow the property to be occupied by nine people and for a two-storey extension.

It was referred to the committee, which meets at County Hall on Tuesday, by Elvet and Gilesgate Councillor David Freeman on behalf of local residents and the City of Durham Parish Council, who thinks larger HMOs create additional problems of noise, anti-social activities, creating an imbalance in the community.

Diane Ward, on behalf of Whinney Hill Community Group said: “This area already has a high concentration of students and the antisocial problems associated with them are well documented."

"The proposal to increase the occupancy levels of this existing HMO will affect the wellbeing of residents and the amenity of the area by contributing to footfall and late night noise and disturbance due to the general coming and goings, not only of the additional occupants but from their friends and associates."

Applicant Gabrielle Moore told the council she had read objections to the proposal and wanted to reassure residents on issues including parking, bins, deliveries and maintenance of the garden.

She added: “The footprint for the build has already been approved and thus the appearance will be no difference as a nine bed house rather than a six bed with the same extension.”

The council says 57.6 per cent of properties within 100m of the house are already student homes.

Planners have recommended the application be approved as it would not lead to an increase in the number of student properties.