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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 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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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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Plans to turn Rhosddu property into HMO for up to eight people given go ahead on appeal

Plans to convert a terrace property in Rhosddu into a HMO have been allowed on appeal – despite being rejected unanimously by planning committee members.

The application for 33 Park Street proposed that the four bedroom property was turned into five-bedroom house in multiple occupation (HMO) for eight residents.

The plans had been recommended for approval by the head of environment and planning Lawrence Isted, who said he was satisfied that the development “would not result in an over concentration of HMOs in the immediate locality.”

But the plans were were turned down by councillors in January 2019 amid concerns over a lack of parking and amenity space for residents.

Objections had also been raised by several neighbours who fear that tenants would be ‘crammed in’ and may include substance abusers. The council’s highways department said it was also against the scheme because it did not include enough parking spaces.

However planning inspector Clive Nield has now overturned the council’s decision and approved the application on appeal.

In his report Mr Nield says that although there is a lack of parking along Park Street, the proposed HMO “would be in a suitable location for tenants who rely on walking, cycling and public transport”

Addressing concerns about a lack of amenity space, Mr Nield continues onto say: “The council’s Local Planning Guidance Note 5 (Houses in Multiple Occupation) says that HMOs should have a large enough private outdoor area to provide space for external drying areas, cycle parking and bin storage and to provide for the amenity of the future occupiers.

“It goes on to say that for an HMO accommodating 8 tenants it will normally seek a minimum private outdoor area of 32 m2.

“In this case, the space in the back yard of the appeal property is reported to be 27 m2. There is also a small area at the front of the property. However, that is not private space, as required.

“The limited amount of private amenity space available also falls well short of the level normally considered acceptable for a family dwelling and is a feature of this densely developed urban area.

“However, there are public open spaces only a few hundred metres away, and the yard is adequate for clothes drying and the storage of bicycles and bins.

“Whilst it does not fully meet the standard sought by the Council’s Guidance Note 5, I consider this shortcoming to be insufficient reason on its own to justify refusing the proposal.

“I conclude that the private outdoor amenity space provided would be adequate, despite its limited area.”

He also notes that whilst there have been concerns from residents about potential occupiers of the HMO and antisocial behaviour, the “licensing requirements for HMOs also provide an element of control, including a condition that the landlord is held accountable for antisocial behaviour.”

It is the second HMO in the Rhosddu to have been allowed on appeal in the past 12 months.

Grosvenor councillor Marc Jones, said: “This goes against the local planning committee‘s decision and ignores the concerns raised by myself and local residents.

“The inspector claims parking for 8 people would not be any worse than for a family. He also states that being close to public transport makes it less likely that people will need a car. What public transport?!

“He admits that the amenity space is below guidance levels for eight people but says it’s no big deal and it’s limited for a family anyway. There’s a big difference between eight individual people living under one roof and a family in terms of needing outdoor space.

“This is a poor decision by the Planning Inspectorate and confirms my view that local communities do not have enough say in planning matters.”

Source: Wrexham

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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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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

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Plans to convert property on edge of town centre into HMO approved

An application to convert a property on the edge of the town centre into a house in multiple occupation (HMO) for seven people has been granted.

The plans for the property in the Derby Road area of Wrexham were put to planning committee members on Monday.

Whitegate councillor Brian Cameron urged members to either refuse the application or carry out a site visit due to see the existing safety and parking issues on the road.

Cllr Cameron said: “Derby Road is a very busy road and there are HGV wagons that go to and from units. Two to three years ago due to the weight of some of the vehicles the road gave way and work had to be done.

“My concern is 24 Derby Road isn’t far from the junction of Kingsmills Road and parking is already very difficult in that area.

“The report talks about parking on the site – my view of parking on the site is if they don’t reverse on, how are they going to get back onto the highway? There is no room to manoeuvre.

“It’s safety in my opinion. It is very close to a junction and there is a lot of parking on the opposite side of the road. There is very little room for parking and it is a very busy junction. It is one of the busiest roads you can have.

“The last thing I would want to see is an accident on that road.”

Cllr Adrienne Jeorrett, who represents the neighbouring Smithfield ward, said she could not support the application due to the existing traffic on the road and the speed heading towards the Kingsmills junction.

However chairman of the committee, Cllr Michael Morris, said the chances of a refusal from the committee being overturned at appeal stage are “great” as the plans meet the council’s standards.

Planning officer Matthew Phillips said that the application had been recommended for approval and that four parking spaces would be provided on the site.

It was also suggested by the council’s highways department that a condition to remove a section of the boundary wall to make manoeuvring in and out of the site easier was put in place.

A recommendation that the committee visited the site was rejected, with seven councillors to six voting in favour of the application subject to the above condition being put in place.

Source: Wrexham

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Concerns residents would be ‘crammed’ into proposed HMO

Concerns have been raised over plans for up to eight people to live in a small terraced house in Wrexham.

An application has been entered to convert the property on Park Street in Rhosddu into a five-bedroom house in multiple occupation (HMO).

Objections have been raised by several neighbours who fear that tenants would be ‘crammed in’ and may include substance abusers.

Wrexham Council’s highways department said it was also against the scheme because it did not include enough parking spaces.

However, the authority’s head of environment and planning has backed the proposals for approval.
In a report, Lawrence Isted said: “I am satisfied that this proposal would not result in an over concentration of HMOs in the immediate locality.

“The site is also in a highly sustainable location within easy reach of all public transport options and in an area where reliance upon the motor car should not be encouraged

“Licensed HMOs are subject to conditions that require landlords to take all reasonable steps for the satisfactory management and maintenance of good physical standards of HMOs.

“There are also conditions requiring the licence holder to prevent anti-social behaviour.

“There are no planning or housing regulatory reasons why a HMO proposal should be refused on the grounds of any particular type of person occupying the property.”

Mr Isted said he acknowledged concerns about the impact of traffic on the narrow one way street.

Due to its restricted width, he said cars often resort to driving along the footpath.

However, he added that most people who use the road show caution.

The proposals will be considered by Wrexham Council’s planning committee on Monday 7 January.

Source: Wrexham

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HMO plans for former cafe recommended for approval despite local opposition

Plans to convert  into a 12 bedroom HMO could be given the go ahead next week, despite opposition from local community councils.

Members of Wrexham Council’s Planning Committee will debate the plans to convert the restaurant /café on 79 Holt Road into a ‘one person one room’ house multiple occupancy (HMO).

Plans for a change of use of the property were submitted to Wrexham Council in April 2018.

At present the existing property consists of a restaurant / cafe on the ground floor and five flats on the first and second floors.

A layout plan submitted by the applicant at the time shows that the 12 bedrooms would be be based across three storeys – with five bedrooms and a kitchen on the ground floor, four bedrooms on the first floor and three bedrooms and a smaller kitchen on the second floor.

Despite the plans being recommended for approval by the council’s head of environment and planning, the application has received opposition by both the local community council and by the adjoining Caia Park Community Council

Three objections were put forward by the community council, who say that the proposed use will result in a “very dense and over concentrated use of the site” and that the change of use will “increase pressure on the limited nearby off street parking and may result in vehicles reversing onto Borras Road.”

They also add that: “The proposed HMO and its associated use by tenants will result in an increase in noise and
potential to impact and cause nuisance to other nearby residents due to noise, crime and antisocial behaviour impacting on Community Safety.”

Caia Park Community Council also argue that “given the numbers proposed and the potential for resident’s vehicles it is felt that the scale of development is inappropriate.”

However comments submitted by the council’s highways department say that “the site is served by an existing access with adequate visibility in both directions” and that “it is therefore considered that the proposed development would in theory have a reduced demand compared to the existing dwelling/café.”

The application will be discussed by planning committee members on Monday 4th June at 4pm. For those unable to attend the meeting it will be webcast on the Wrexham Council website.

Source: Wrexham