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Former Bath pub could be transformed into five-bed HMO

A former city centre pub could be given a new lease of life and turned into a five-bed house of multiple occupancy.

The Grapes in Westgate Street closed its doors for good in April 2017 with operator Green King saying it was a “difficult decision”.

The building, which dates back to 1317, was once used as a wine merchant before being converted into a pub in the 19th century.

But now the owner has submitted plans to Bath and North East Somerset Council to convert three floors of the historical building into an HMO.

According the designs and access statement on the council’s planning portal, the flats on the upper three floors were once home to staff, but have been empty for six months.

The document reads: “Since the previous tenant’s lease expired, the premises has been actively marketed without success and remains vacant.

“As there is strong demand for shared residential accommodation in secondary locations in the city centre it is proposed that refurbishment is undertaken to change the property to residential use providing five bedrooms with shared facilities.”

The proposal is seeking permission to separate the upper three floors from the ground floor and basement to create a separate property, which would be an HMO.

An HMO is a property with three or more unrelated residents.

They are popular among young professionals who may be unable to afford to live alone and university students once they leave on-campus accommodation.

At the time of writing, the application had received two objections online.

Kirsten Elliott, who lives in Bathwick, said: “I object to this proposal as it presently stands.

“Putting an HMO on such a busy street as Westgate Street seems to me to be a remarkably foolish thing to do.

“The pavement is very narrow here, as is the alleyway at the side.

“To have a shop and people coming and going from their accommodation will make traffic difficulties and could indeed be dangerous.”

H Smith, a resident of Combe Down, added: “There is also no justification as to why an HMO would be more suitable in this location than conversion to C3 residential accommodation.”

Council planning officers are expected to made a decision before March 21.

Source: Bath Chronicle