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Plan to make family home in St John’s, Worcester an HMO approved despite safety fears

HOMES used as bedsits or as shared ‘student-style’ housing “devalue and degrade a neighbourhood”, according to a councillor. Cllr Alan Amos made the comment about a plan to turn a four-bedroom family home into a five-room house of multiple occupancy (HMO) at Worcester City Council’s planning committee meeting.

Cllr Amos said: “We should enhance a neighbourhood, not damage neighbours’ amenity.”

The application was brought by Martin Kelly who lives in the house in Palmers Green in St John’s with his brother.

He said he wanted to turn the house into a home for five people, adding: “It would not necessarily be students. It’s suitable for professional people as well as students.”

A neighbour, Glyn Harding objected strongly to the plan. He said: “Mr Kelly is a good neighbour but this proposal for an HMO is not suitable for a street full of family homes. An HMO will lead to more foot and vehicle traffic, and this street is dangerous.”

Mr Harding said the street had been built without pavements so people were forced to walk in the carriageway and a series of bends in the road created poor sightlines. He said: “Elderly people, parents pushing buggies and children are all in the road, and this will be unsafe.”

However, Worcestershire County Council’s highways officer Steve Hawley said the road met national standards at 4.5m wide.

He added: “There have been no accidents in the road since it was constructed. The absence of foot-ways is part of the shared space concept and there is no evidence to suggest this proposal would be unsafe.”

Mr Harding was also concerned about ‘clustering’ of HMOs. He said: “There are eight other HMOs within a 200m radius. About 65 percent of HMOs in Worcester are in St John’s. We are well over the tipping point.” The plan was approved by six votes to one against with two abstentions.

Source: Worcester News