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Plans for seven-bedroom HMO in Broughton backed for approval despite widespread opposition

Plans to turn a family home into a seven-bedroom House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) have been backed for approval despite widespread opposition.

About 50 objections have been submitted against proposals to convert the current three-bedroom property on Larne Drive in Broughton.

It comes amid concerns from residents that it would have a negative impact on the neighbourhood and lead to parking problems.

Broughton Community Council and local councillor Billy Mullin have also voiced strong criticism.

However, the application has been recommended to receive the green light by Flintshire Council’s chief planning officer.

In a report set to go before councillors next week, Andrew Farrow said the scheme was acceptable because it was in a residential area.

He said: “The dwelling is located within a row of similar properties upon a modern residential estate.

“Given the above, it is considered that the built nature of the proposal will not have a significant detrimental impact upon the character and appearance of the existing dwelling or streetscene in which it is located.

“There is a concern that the increased residential use of the HMO, would leave to an increase in the parking requirements above what would reasonably expected of a private dwelling.

“The proposed parking provision submitted shows the front of the property will accommodate three cars clear of the highway.

“A condition is imposed to ensure that the parking provision is provided and maintained on site, in perpetuity.”

It’s not the first time plans for a HMO in Broughton have caused controversy.

In December 2018, proposals to create bedsits on Gladstone Road were approved on appeal, despite originally being refused by the local authority following a protest by neighbours.

Worries have been raised that the latest scheme could lead to a rise in anti-social behaviour, but Mr Farrow said such claims had not been proven.

He said: “Concerns have been expressed that the proposals would cause noise/disturbance with the extensions also adversely affecting light and privacy upon existing neighbouring occupiers.
“Some of these concerns and fears relate to the future occupants of the development.

“Concerns that tenants could cause these problems are not unique to HMOs and there is no evidence to substantiate this is the case.

“Anti-social behaviour could equally apply to other forms of residential occupation.

“It is considered that all of the matters in the consideration of this proposal are acceptable and that planning permission should be granted.”

Proposals to extend the property to provide extra accommodation were approved in October last year.

The most recent application will be discussed at a meeting of the council’s planning committee at County Hall in Mold on Wednesday.

By Liam Randall

Source: Deeside

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Plans to turn Wrexham family home into HMO approved on appeal

Plans to turn a family home on the edge of Wrexham town centre into a house in multiple occupation (HMO) have been approved on appeal.

Councillors originally rejected proposals to convert the house on Salop Road into five bedsits in September because of the large number of similar properties nearby.

They said it would breach council guidelines which state the maximum amount of HMOs allowed within a 50 metre radius of any given location should be no more than ten per cent.

Permitting the application would have increased the concentration of bedsits in the area to 16 per cent.

However, their decision has now been overturned by an inspector appointed by the Welsh Government following a successful appeal.

In a report, Hywel Wyn Jones said he could find no proof of the planning committee’s claims that the scheme would have a negative social impact.

He said: “There is no substantive evidence before me to indicate that the existing presence of HMOs in this mixed-use part of the town is causing an over concentration that is affecting the social fabric or residential amenity of the community, nor that the scheme would be likely to create such problems.

“My visit did not reveal any of the physical manifestations that can arise from such developments, such as high numbers of letting signs, unkempt frontages, or household waste strewn along the street.

“As the ten per cent threshold is one provided in guidance to assist decision makers, it should not be slavishly followed as though it were an absolute limit.

“The mixed-use character of this edge of town centre location reinforces my view in this respect.

“Thus, on this main issue I conclude that the proposed use would not be harmful to the social fabric or residential amenity of the host community.”

The plans were also refused on the grounds it would cause an increase in demand for parking on the street, adding to existing problems.

While Mr Wyn Jones acknowledged there was pressure on the amount of spaces, he concluded the scheme would not give rise to an additional demand.

He added: “None of the matters raised in objection to the scheme lead me away from finding that it is acceptable.

“I shall therefore allow the appeal subject to the conditions suggested by the council and one to deal with cycle storage.”

By Liam Randall

Source: Wrexham

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HMO plans for former bar and hotel submitted for a second time

Plans to turn a bar and hotel on the outskirts of town into a HMO have been resubmitted, despite being rejected last month.

The proposals for the former Soul Suite and Albion Hotel in Pen y Bryn include converting the three storeys into 11 bedrooms.

This would include four bedrooms on the ground floor, along with a living / dining room and toilet and shower facilities. A further three bedrooms and a communal kitchen area would be on the second floor and four bedrooms with en suite facilities on the fourth floor.

It is the second time such plans have been put forward for the building, with the applicants stating earlier this year that despite the ground floor being advertised to let since 2017, they had received little interest.

At the time the applicants said the development is “within close proximity to the town centre, public transport links, shops, a primary school and various bars and restaurants, which will also less residents’ reliance on cars.

“Based on the above assessment, we believe that the proposal will not have a detrimental affect on the parking around the vicinity of the proposed development site.”

However last month Wrexham.com reported that Lawrence Isted, the council’s chief officer of planning and regulatory had refused the application via a delegated decision.

In his findings, Mr Isted said that the development would be contrary to planning policy. However he added that the council would look “more favourably upon a less intensive scheme which retains the commercial use on the ground floor and creates quality residential apartments on the upper floors, more in keeping with the Pen y Bryn mixed use regeneration area.”

The resubmitted application will be considered for approval at a later date.

Source: Wrexham

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Plans to increase number of residents living in HMO set for approval despite concerns of overcrowding

Plans to increase the maximum number of people that can live in a HMO on the outskirts of town have been recommended for approval, despite a series of concerns about overcrowding.

At present the house in multiple occupation at 86 Erddig Road is currently occupied by eight residents housed in eight single bedrooms

But due to the “demands for such accommodation” in the area, the applicant is seeking permission to allow the property to be let as seven double bedrooms for a maximum of 14 residents.

Next week members of the council’s planning committee will be asked to approve the plans.

However the application has been met with objection by councillor Alun Jenkins, a number of residents and the community council, who have argued that there is a lack of parking and insufficient space for tenants.

Cllr Jenkins, who has has called for the application to be refused, adds: “It cannot be acceptable either in planning or in licensing terms that what was an original four bedroomed terraced house to house fourteen people.

“The facilities within the property are barely sufficient for the present eight residents, with a single kitchen/dining room on the ground floor for all the residents, a single WC and separate shower room on the ground floor, and a single small shower/wc on the first floor.

“It would appear that there are no proposals to improve the wc/shower facilities on either the ground or first floors to cater for the six additional residents.”

He continues onto say: “This is surely not the type of residential property that we would want to be encouraging in Wrexham.

“This part of Erddig Road is at the heart of the Conservation Area, and the creation of such sub-standard housing would be completely unacceptable and out of keeping with the area.”

But the council’s Chief Officer of Planning and Regulatory, Lawrence Isted states that because the property is already occupied as a HMO it is “unnecessary to consider whether the proposals result in an over concentration of this type of accommodation.”

Addressing concerns about lack of parking, Mr Isted notes that “whilst it is accepted the property has no off-street parking spaces it is not unusual in the area”.

He continues onto say that: “Very few households living in rental accommodation in Wrexham have more than 2 vehicles, with a significant proportion of households in rental accommodation not having access to a vehicle or only have one vehicle per household.”

Mr Isted adds: “The proposal seeks to reduce the number of bedrooms from eight to seven and on the basis of the new standard the parking requirement is identical.

“The proposal will result in an up-grading of the property and will provide an opportunity to
enhance the character and appearance of the Conservation Area and preserve the areas character.

“The sustainable location reduces the requirement for occupiers to be reliant upon a car, with the property in close proximity to the main roads, bus routes, employment, access to shops and
health and community facilities.

“The property will provide general waste and garden waste bins. Open space will be provided in the 50m2 rear garden and 60m2 front garden. There is proposed cycle parking for 2 bicycles and a drying line will also be provided.”

The application will be considered for approval by planning committee members at 4pm on Monday 2nd September. The meeting will also be webcast on the Wrexham Council website.

Source: Wrexham

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Plans to turn offices in Deeside into HMO turned down

Plans to turn offices in Deeside into a house in multiple occupation (HM0) have been thrown out.

Proposals were previously put forward to convert a former accountants office on Station Road in Queensferry to provide eight bedrooms.

The developers claimed there would be no major changes to the building if the scheme was to go ahead.

In a statement written on their behalf, planning agents said although there was no allocated parking included, it would not cause an issue.

However, officers from Flintshire Council have refused permission because of the flood risk at the site.

In the documents put forward to the local authority, representatives from Wrexham-based company Develemental said: “This application is for the change of use of a pair of end terrace commercial combined units.

“Currently the property is a vacant former accountancy office created from the joining of what was originally a pair of end-terraced residential properties.

“There will be no material change to the appearance of the property, except that it will be tidied up and will look better cared for and presented than it currently does.

“The only impact of the changes to the street scene is the removal of the shop front which will be largely blocked up, rendered to match with two privacy and secure window units to the two ground floor front bedrooms.

“Although no dedicated parking is provided as part of this proposal, the nature of the residents of a professionally run HMO has been proven to make this a non-issue.

“For any residents who do maintain a vehicle, immediately adjacent is a public car park which has very low daily and overnight charges.”

The scheme was refused by the council’s planning department using delegated powers.

By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter

Source: Deeside

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Council proposes crackdown on student Houses of Multiple Occupation

Houses with several students living in them could face tougher restrictions under new plans approved last night by Broxtowe Borough Council.

Families are thinking of leaving the area, because the number of student Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) have increased so much around Beeston, according to one councillor.

Several councillors said the number of HMOs has ‘eroded the character of parts of Beeston’.

Currently, no additional planning permission is needed to convert a ‘family house’ to an HMO in Broxtowe if there are six or fewer students living there.

With two successful and growing universities, and pressure for student housing still high in the city, there has been a growth in recent years of student living across the border in Broxtowe, and Beeston in particular.

Now, concerns are being raised about the quantity of HMOs, and Broxtowe Borough Council is looking to impose new restrictions.

In Nottingham, to convert a ‘family house’ to an HMO, you need to get special planning permission if there are going to be three or more unrelated people living in a house – lower than the threshold in Broxtowe.

Now, Broxtowe is considering bringing its rules in line with the city’s, and is now looking into whether a policy would work.

It is hoped the move could help the council control the amount of new applications it receives, and give it power to reject applications it feels are inappropriate.

However to impose a scheme like this, the council has to have evidence showing there is a need for the new measures.

Now, Broxtowe Borough Council plans to collect this information, before a scheme could potentially be introduced by the end of the year, or early next year.

Councillor Lynda Lally represents Beeston Central for Labour, and said: “I’ve never known anything in the 20 years of being a councillor for Beeston Central which has been as controversial as this, apart from the tram.

“I genuinely feel this is a huge probelm, and we can’t just say ‘we’ll see how this goes’, we can’t do that any more.

“I’ve had people in an emotional state saying I’m going to move out of here because I can’t stand what’s happening to my street any more.

“Family homes with three bedrooms are turning into homes with eight, nine and 10 bedrooms, so I’m really glad we are tackling this.”

“We cannot see our communities destroyed any more.

“This is not against students, this is about getting a better mix.”

Councillor Stephen Carr is the leader of the Liberal Democrats, and represents Beeston North.

He said: “Nottingham seems to now be saturated with HMOs.

“Just over the last few months (in Broxtowe) there are more, and more and more (HMOs) coming in.

“What we are trying to prevent at this stage, is not shutting the door after the horse has bolted, but preventing us becoming Dunkirk, or Lenton which, when you go there now when the students aren’t there, it’s deserted. It has no character, it has hardly any families left.

“We really need this policy quickly.”

The plan was approved unanimously at a meeting of Broxtowe Borough Council’s Jobs and Economy Committee yesterday (Thursday, July 4)

By Local Democracy Reporters

Source: West Bridgford Wire

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Family home turned into multi-occupation house despite concerns

Retrospective plans to turn a family home into a seven-bed house in multiple occupation in Coventry have been approved, despite a councillor’s claims it is a deliberate attempt to circumvent the planning process.

A bid for a nine-bed HMO was previously refused by officers on the grounds it was intensified use but a second application was passed by a committee on Thursday (June 13) after the size reduced by two rooms.

Councillor Tim Sawdon had criticised how the applicant sought retrospective approval for 30 Old Mill Avenue, and blasted the proposals as gross over-development of the site.

But planning officer Shamim Chowdhury said: “The use is clearly different to a family house and increases the potential of noise, however in this case it is a large property and does not share and walls with other houses.

“Retrospective applications are acceptable and we cannot control that.

“In terms of assessment we do the same as a normal application.”

One of the conditions was for the house to be occupied by no more than seven residents, with planning policy manager Mark Andrews adding the authority will be monitoring the licence.

Concerns were also raised about whether the parking was adequate, with officers stating up to six cars would be catered for, but only with four at a time would they be able to manoeuvre on the drive independently.

Cllr Naeem Akhtar said: “Our local plan requires all HMOs to provide adequate parking, this is not adequate parking.”

Council officers said the local plan indicates the application requires ‘up to six spaces’ and was therefore acceptable.

By Tom Davis

Source: Coventry Telegraph

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Residents voice their frustration as plans for HMO are granted on appeal

Frustration has been voiced after plans to create a six-bedroom house in multiple occupation (HMO) in Wrexham were granted on appeal.

During November, members of the local authority’s planning committee rejected proposals to convert an existing house on Beechley Road in Hightown to accommodate a total of seven people.

It came after they carried out a site visit where concerned residents carrying placards raised issues over parking and fly tipping as a result of the six existing HMOs on the street.

The Beechley Road Residents’ Association also presented a petition with 90 signatures against the development.

However, the decision to refuse the scheme has now been overturned by a planning inspector appointed by the Welsh Government.

Cllr Graham Rogers (Lab), who represents the area, said the news had left him angered.

He said: “It’s very frustrating and disappointing. There’s already a number of HMOs along Beechley Road and now we’ve got another one.

“There’s going to be traffic issues because of where it is at the end of the road.

“What’s the point in having a planning committee when someone who sits in an office about 150 miles away can change the decision?

“I’d like to thank the residents who helped to fight against it. It’s so frustrating, but what more can you do?”

Council officers had originally backed the plans for approval as they said they complied with all the authority’s policies.

But an alternative recommendation for refusal was put forward by councillors on the grounds of parking and access issues, which was approved by eight votes to four.

In his decision notice, planning inspector Iwan Lloyd concluded that the proposal would not harm road safety.

He said: “In my view the proposed access would be satisfactory in relation to visibility and sight stopping distances.

“On-street parking may impede visibility but there are numerous vehicle entrances serving properties in the vicinity of the site and there is no evidence to indicate that these are not operating safely.

“Turning to the second reason for refusal, the council’s highway engineer confirms that the proposal complies with planning guidance which seeks a maximum of four car spaces.

“This is exceeded in this case and the proposal would provide for secure cycle storage.

“The site is situated in a sustainable location and on-site car parking provision could accommodate visitor parking in this instance which should overcome the council’s and residents’ concerns.”

Mr Lloyd said he had also considered representations regarding the over-concentration of HMOs on the street, issues with the potential behaviour of future tenants and problems with bin storage.

However, he said such matters did not form part of the council’s reasons for refusing the application and did not outweigh his decision.

By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter 

Source: Wrexham

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Plans submitted to turn terraced house in Connah’s Quay into ‘house in multiple occupation’

Plans have been put forward to turn a terraced home on Deeside into a house in multiple occupation (HMO).

It would see the property on Church Street, Connah’s Quay, converted to include four bedrooms to house a maximum of five people.

According to planning documents, the house has been vacant for a number of years.

Carlatton Property Ltd, which is behind the application, said the proposed living accommodation is up to the standards required for HMOs in Flintshire.

In a covering letter written on the company’s behalf, planning agent Jennifer Sanders said: “The application site comprises a three-bed, mid-terrace dwelling with rear garden and an attached outbuilding.

“While the overall layout of the property is not proposed to alter, some minor internal alterations are proposed at ground floor level.

“The resultant building will comprise a four bedroom (five person) HMO, with separate kitchen, utility and living room, as well as an upstairs bathroom and additional downstairs toilet.

“The existing dwelling has been vacant for some time and require substantial refurbishment.

“The proposed development seeks to bring the property back into appropriate use.

“Furthermore, with no external alterations and very few (if any) other HMO units located in the immediate vicinity, the proposal will not change or harm the character of the surrounding area.”

Comments are currently being invited on the application via the Flintshire Council website.

Any feedback must be received by March 5 and the local authority is aiming to make a decision on the proposals before the end of March.

Source: Deeside

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Appeal lodged after councillors turn down plan for HMO in Rhosddu

A planning appeal has been submitted after plans to convert a property in Rhosddu into a house in multiple occupation (HMO) were refused by councillors.

The appeal, which has been submitted on behalf of applicants AJAK developments ltd, comes after planning committee members unanimously voted to reject plans for the property in Park Street, Rhosddu.

It had been proposed that the property was converted into a five-bedroom house in multiple occupation (HMO) for a maximum of eight residents.

However despite being recommended for approval by the head of environment and planning at Wrexham Council, committee members refused the plans amid concerns of lack of parking and amenity space.

Speaking at the time Grosvenor councillor Marc Jones, said: ““Anyone who knows Park Street will know that ironically given its name, it is one of the worst places in Wrexham to park. It is a one way street, it’s probably the narrowest street in Wrexham and people have to drive on the pavement to get past.

“If you don’t know the place you would not believe how narrow that road is. It is impossible to get past in a van if there is a van parked there. The curb stones are cracked, it’s not safe.

“A household of two adults and a number of children who may be of driving age would have far fewer cars or vehicles than with eight adults in. If those eight adults are in work it is more than likely they will need cars of vehicles to get to their place of work.

“Regardless of what anyone says, public transport in Wrexham is inadequate.”

However the appeal submitted by Mr Bob Dewey on behalf of the applicants states that the committee’s decision “does not accord with the professional recommendation made by the council’s planning officers”.

Commenting on the concerns about parking in the area, Mr Dewey says: “It is self-evident that the existing houses have inadequate parking – the road is barely wide enough for parking along one side and it is presumed that some residents use the small public car park located on the Park Street/Rhosddu Road corner.

“Given the severe lack of parking for some 27 house along the most restricted part of the road, it is not unreasonable to think that some residents may not own cars. Certainly, any occupier of this proposed accommodation would be ill advised to take up residence if she/he owns a car.”

With regards to amenity space for the HMO it is noted: “This is a densely developed urban area where the full provision is unlikely to be feasible.

“There are large public open spaces some 400 m away on either side of Rhosddu Road with plenty of sitting out areas. There are allotments adjacent to Chester Road.”

The agent concludes: “This is a proposal to bring a property into a viable use and provide much needed accommodation for people who want to live close to Wrexham Town centre. The site is therefore extremely sustainable with the centre easily walkable.

“The bus station is on this side of the centre and there are footpath links to the railway station. There are areas of green open space on both sides of Rhosddu Road close to the site.

“No objective evidence has been put forward as to why the use would cause any harm to the amenities of the area. It fully supports WG’s objective of reducing the need for private car usage.

“The inspector is requested to grant permission.”

The appeal will be considered by the planning inspector at a later date.

Source: Wrexham