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Bid to turn Wrexham town centre house into HMO refused over parking issues

A bid to create a house in multiple occupation (HMO) near Wrexham town centre has been thrown out because of fears it will added to parking issues.

Proposals to turn a three-bedroom house on Oxford Street, which is close to Eagles Meadow shopping centre, into five bedsits were originally submitted in October.

Objections were raised ahead of the application being considered by councillors on Monday as a result of the lack of parking spaces on the road.

Local councillor Adrienne Jeorrett said the situation had become so bad that one resident who lives on the street was forced to return their disability car.

Addressing Wrexham Council’s planning committee, she said: “Whilst I accept the need for low cost housing, it’s a great disappointment to me that in 2019 adults are having to live in one room with a long term impact on health and wellbeing.

“In Oxford Street and the surrounding roads parking is a major problem for residents. This proposed HMO will add to that problem.

“To say that Oxford Street is near town does not mean that residents work in town.

“It does not mean that someone does not need a car, especially if they work somewhere where public transport no longer reaches.

“One resident in this street has already had to send back a disability car because they couldn’t park in the street.”

The local authority’s chief planning officer had recommended the scheme should be given the go ahead.

In a report, Lawrence Isted disputed claims that it would make the parking situation worse as the property was located close to the town’s bus and railway stations.

But the council’s highways department backed refusal because of the “significant” demand for parking in the area.

Highway development control engineer Peter Douthwaite said: “We’ve looked at it and the proposal is deemed to be increasing the level of parking requirement in an area already suffering from parking problems.

“We think it should be refused due to lack of parking provision.”

Councillors unanimously voted to reject the proposals at the end of the debate.

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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Plans to increase capacity of HMO refused amid parking and litter concerns

Plans to increase the capacity of a house in multiple occupation (HMO) on the outskirts of Wrexham town centre have been rejected because of concerns over parking and litter.

An application was entered in May to increase the amount of residents able to live at a property on Beechley Road in Hightown from six to eight.

It came as owner Andrew Shield said he wanted to allow couples to live in two of the rooms to meet the demand for accommodation in the area.

The scheme was given the backing of Wrexham Council’s chief planning officer ahead of a meeting on Monday to decide the plans.

However, members of the local authority’s planning committee refused permission after being told about the lack of parking and issues with overspilling bins on the street, which is already home to several HMOs.

Speaking at Wrexham’s Guildhall, local councillor Graham Rogers said: “The proposed development would result in an over-concentration to the detriment of the social fabric of the area.

“Beechley Road currently has six HMOs within a 50-metre radius, and I consider the likelihood that the proposed suggestion to increase from six to eight occupants will result in an increase in parking demands.

“For those reasons I am requesting that the approval be refused for the proposed development, which does not make adequate provision for the parking of vehicles.

“The current HMO on Beechley Road carries an increase in the amount of refuse with bins being overused, resulting in litter over spilling onto the footpaths and carriageway. On most weekends I’m having to clear litter with the aid of the community payback team.”

Members of the Beechley Road Residents’ Association also wrote to planning committee members to highlight issues with noise from the HMO properties.

It came after they previously campaigned against a separate bedsit application on the same street.

The latest scheme was recommended for approval by the council’s chief planning officer, who said it was unlikely to lead to an increased demand for parking spaces.

In his report Lawrence Isted said: “I have considered the concerns of the residents in regard to parking and noise nuisance.

“With regard to parking, I appreciate that there are a significant number of vehicles that park on the carriageway with no provision for parking on site.

“Highways have no objections to the proposed development on the grounds that the proposed development is unlikely to result in parking demand compared with its current residential use.

“Noise nuisance can be addressed by public protection.”

Despite his recommendation, councillors chose to refuse permission because of the impact on parking with 15 votes against the plans and two abstentions.

By Liam Randall

Source: Wrexham

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Plans for shared house in Brighton attract opposition

Neighbours have the support of their area’s councillors in opposing plans for a shared house.

St Peter’s and North Laine councillors Pete West and Lizzie Deane sent a joint letter against plans to turn a four-bedroom house into a five-bedroom shared house or HMO (house in multiple occupation) in Crescent Road.

The plans are recommended for approval when they go before Brighton and Hove City Council’s Planning Committee next week.

In their 25 letters of objection, neighbours raised concerns about the number of shared houses in the Roundhill area, as well as noise from the roof terrace and the loss of a family home.

Crescent Road is in an area where limits are placed on new HMOs.

No more than 10 per cent of homes within a 50-metre radius of any proposed HMO should already be a shared house.

Calculations by the council show that there are 84 properties within 50 metres and seven of these are shared houses, under the limit.

One anonymous neighbour’s objection said: “The property is in a conservation area and adding more residents and a roof terrace would detract from the character of the area, which is one of single dwelling houses. The conversion to HMO does nothing to enhance the conservation area.

“Many family homes in Brighton have been lost to similar HMO conversion, and this would reduce the supply of much-needed family homes.”

Another objection said: “Crescent Road is already oversubscribed with HMOs.

“The proposed roof terrace is inappropriate and not in keeping with the conservation area. It also constitutes a noise nuisance to the neighbours and surrounding area.”

Councillor West wrote: “The HMO density in Crescent Road is already approaching saturation and this HMO cannot therefore be permitted.

“I note it has been pointed out that not all existing HMOs in Crescent Road have been recognised on the map.

“Questions have also been raised over the adequacy of provision for refuse storage and impact on parking and traffic in the area.

“I believe this proposal will adversely affect the Conservation Area, have a detrimental effect on property value, impact residential amenity by increasing noise (and) represent overdevelopment.”

The Roundhill Society also objected, saying: “Numbers 26 (and) 28a Crescent Road already are operating as HMOs.

“If 22 Crescent Road is allowed, then the family living in 24 Crescent Road will be ‘sandwiched’ within a row of HMOs with all the noise and negative impact on family life (that) a large student occupied house would have.

“This would be entirely inappropriate. The density of HMOs in this area is already excessive.”

The Planning Committee is due to meet next Wednesday (6 November) at Hove Town Hall. The meeting is scheduled to start at 2pm and should be open to the public.

By Sarah Booker-Lewis

Source: Brighton And Hove News

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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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Appeal over Wrexham HMO plans is kicked out

An appeal against the rejection of plans to extend a house in multiple occupation (HMO) has been thrown out.

Wrexham Council denied permission to increase the number of bedrooms at a property on Poplar Road in the town from six to eight in October.

Owner Arran Pritchard later launched an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate on the grounds that the authority did not decide on his application within the relevant timescale.

However, an inspector appointed by the Welsh Government has upheld the council’s decision.

Siân Worden said she felt it would impact on the safety of drivers at a busy junction.

She said: “The appeal property is in a busy area where there are widespread parking restrictions and many of the dwellings do not have off-street parking. There thus appears to be a high demand for on-street spaces.

“The proposed development would result in a small increase in the number of vehicles requiring parking spaces in the vicinity.

“Even so, it would increase the hazard on the local road network, and reduce its efficient use, by resulting in more drivers searching for a parking space.

“The proposed development would not make sufficient provision for parking or for a turning area.

“It would thus be detrimental to safety and the efficient use of the highway in the immediate area.”

The proposed development would need spaces for five car parking spaces.

However, Ms Worden said she it was unclear how many spaces were allocated to the property.

She said: “There are no parking spaces marked out and it is not clear how many cars can reasonably be parked there at the moment, taking into account that vehicles should be able to enter or leave each parking space even if other parking spaces are occupied.

“It is possible that three or even four parked cars would fit within the space without blocking each other in.

“They could not, however, turn and leave the parking area in a forward gear.

“Those parking at the existing HMO are likely to have to reverse out at the moment.

“Nonetheless, if the proposal necessitated additional such manoeuvres these would be harmful to the safety of pedestrians and other road users.”

Source: Wrexham

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Hightown HMO plans rejected after residents warn of impact on their community

Plans to create a six-bedroom house in multiple occupation (HMO) in Wrexham have been rejected after residents warned it would tear their community apart.

Proposals were submitted to Wrexham Council to convert an existing house on Beechley Road in Hightown to accommodate a total of seven people.
However, after members of the authority’s planning committee carried out a site visit today, they chose to go against the advice of officers and refused the application. They were greeted at the property by members of the Beechley Road Residents’ Association carrying placards, including one which read ‘Don’t Turn Beechley Road Into A Ghetto’.

Neighbours raised a number of concerns about the plans, including issues over parking and fly tipping as a result of the six existing HMOs on the street.
They have previously presented a petition with 90 signatures against the development.

John Harding, chair of the association, said: “A line has to be drawn somewhere to ensure the quality of life of long term residents is maintained, and in our opinion this is where the line should be drawn.

“There has already been an adverse impact on house prices in the road as a result of decisions taken in the past by the planning department.

“This deterioration can only accelerate given the authority’s perceived plan of allowing properties in the road to become nothing more than cheap accommodation for short term residents and the problems they bring with them.

“We see this as a direct attack on our future and will do our utmost to prevent this from happening.”

After committee members returned to the Guildhall, they were told that the proposals complied with all of the council’s policies.

Chair Mike Morris warned that valid grounds would need to be found for refusal.

But several politicians voiced their frustration at the increasing number of HMOs, including the area’s councillor Graham Rogers, he said: “Having visited the site, and I know the site very well, my concerns are still on parking and the four spaces, the double yellow lines at a very busy junction, the speeds at excess of what they are supposed to be and 90 residents have signed a petition which we should take the cognisance of.”

He was supported by Cllr Paul Jones, who said: “It’s very disappointing that our planning policy and planning guidance is inflicting yet another HMO on a community in Wrexham. The area is not saturated with HMOs, but it’s going in the wrong direction. HMOs done in the wrong way cause considerable problems for that community.

“It will be the people in that community baring the consequences whichever way it goes.”

Cllr Rogers said the plans should be refused on the grounds of parking and access, despite being told the highways department had no issues.

His recommendation was backed by eight votes to four.

Source: Wrexham

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HMO plans for “eyesore” office space in Wrexham

“Dilapidated” and “eyesore” office space in Wrexham could soon be converted into a HMO.

In an application submitted to Wrexham Council it has been proposed that the disused office space at Unit C on Maesgwyn Road is converted into a six bedroomed House Multiple Occupancy.

Previously the offices were home to the Wrexham tram depot before being used as a bus depot. In recent years it has been used as a garage and repair shop. However they have since been vacant for a number of years and have been subject to vandalism.

As a result the applicants state that the aim of the plans is to “ensure this vacant unit can become usable”, with office space located at the front of the building proposed for HMO use.

Documents submitted to Wrexham Council show that the office space on the ground floor would be used for an open plan kitchen, dining and living area, along with a separate kitchenette, bathroom and one bedroom with living area.

A further five bedrooms, two of which would have living areas, two bathrooms and a landing would be located on the first floor.

Further details in the application’s design and access statement adds that the proposed conversion would be “sympathetic to the existing structure”, with the removal / replacement of windows and the creation of a new opening proposed to provide bin storage for the exterior of the building.

The design and access statement concludes: “We feel this planning application should be looked favourably upon as the intention to provide additional accommodation within the town centre ideally suited to young professional’s seeking work or employment in the area.

“The building is prominent to existing dwellings and is currently in a dilapidated state where vandals have targeted windows and walls within the building.

“At present the building is an eyesore to local residents, by allowing this conversion to take place the building will be revamped and be a secure building ensuring vandalism won’t occur.

“By allowing us to convert the existing offices to provide a HMO we are retaining the existing characteristics of the building, reducing its impact on the current parking arrangements and ensuring parking issues aren’t magnified should the unit be refurbished as an office.”

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

Source: Wrexham

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HMO plans for vacant Rhosddu property rejected by councillors

Plans to convert a property into Rhosddu into a HMO have been rejected by councillors.

The application to convert the property at 36 Rhosddu Road into a one bedroom self-contained flat and a five bedroom HMO (House Multiple Occupation) was submitted to Wrexham Council in September 2017.

The property is described in the application’s design and access statement as a three storey, Victorian mid-terrace dwelling that has been vacant for sometime and lies in a state of disrepair.

At present the building consists of a living room, dining room and a former kitchen and shower room at basement level. Two bedrooms and a further kitchen area are on the ground floor entrance level and a further three bedrooms and bathroom at the first level.

However the plans put forward proposed a remodelling of the building, along with converting the basement into a one bedroom apartment and the first and ground floors into a five bedroom HMO.

The proposals had been recommended for approval, with planning officer David Williams stating the committee would need to evaluate if “one additional HMO in that building would adversely affect the character” of that area.

In terms of approving the application, councillors told that the key consideration related to the concentration of HMOs in a 50m radius and if it goes over a 10% threshold. In this case there is already in excess of 14% of HMO properties and if the application was approved it would take the percentage to 17%.

Mr Williams said: “We need to look at the circumstances relating to that site, there is already a concentrated cluster.

“It is an area of mixed-use, it is not primarily residential and I think if you were looking to refuse, you need to be asking how one additional HMO would alter the character of that area given it would be sandwiched either side by an existing HMO.

“We have obtained information with the Council Tax records and it appears the property has been unoccupied since 2011, so it provides and opportunity to bring a beneficial use back into the building.

“I appreciate we are still working on new guidance for HMOs, so I don’t think it is something we can use at this point to justify the determination of this applications.

“We have tended to use the 10% figure in the past, in this case would accept it goes beyond the 10% limit. Again we need to look at the individual circumstances on the site and as an individual case.”

He added: “I think you need to ask yourself how one additional HMO in that building would adversely affect the character of the area.”

However Grovsenor Cllr Marc Jones described the situation with HMOs as “frustrating” and a “catch 22”, with the committee told previously that they could not refuse an application on the basis of not hitting the 10% threshold. However in this instance councillors were being told that “one more won’t make a difference”.

Cllr Jones said: “I want to give a background on the location. It is important people understand it is a very built area, it is mixed and I would challenge the view that it is not primarily residential.

“This block of five terrace houses directly overlooks Rhosddu Park and is adjacent to the cemetery. We have had a PSPO (Public Space Protection Area) to prevent people engaging in antisocial behaviour in place for a couple of years, with limited success, but that is as a result of concerns people have had about antisocial behaviour in this area.

“There have been public meetings and has been significant concerns in terms of police activity and because of that I am struggling really to understand the logic behind this.

“Given the concerns that have been reflected locally, I think Planning Policy H4 is clear and worth reading in its entirety and the last clause – the sub division of dwellings will only be permitted when a proposal would not result in the over concentration of HMOs to the detriment of crime levels, social fabric of the area and amenity of existing residents.

“That is fairly concise and clear cut. I don’t think we need to look any further.”

He added: “The idea that one more doesn’t make a difference, it does – one more makes huge difference. We have to be careful in ways we deal with the individual planning applications, there is a bigger picture we have to address.

“I am here to represent the concerns of residents in Rhosddu. I think there is a danger that we could set a dangerous precedent that landlords who have long-term empty dwellings feel they can get away with anything if they leave a dwelling empty long enough. It is a dangerous precedent to set.

“On the basis of Policy H4 I recommend refusal. It goes against our policy and think there is a very clear case.”

The recommendation for refusal was seconded by Cllr Paul Pemberton, who said he agreed that there are too many HMOs in such a small area.

Cllr I David Bithell, who represents the neighbouring Stansty ward, added: “There are too many HMOs and too much antisocial behaviour. Police are supporting us to try and reduce it and I think we need to make a stand.

“I am disappointed with the planning officer for recommending approval. I thought he would be supporting us on refusal.”

Members of the committee voted unanimously for refusing the application.