Office space in Wrexham town centre is to be converted into a HMO after being granted planning permission on appeal, with developers branding the council’s original planning committee meeting as ‘chaotic’.
The application for 61 Regent Street proposes that the vacant building is converted into a five bedroom House Multiple Occupancy with communal facilities.
The property is located on a row of offices in the conservation area of 61 Regent Street. Previously the property was home to ISP Architects, however the building is claimed to have been vacant for around three years.
The application had initially been recommended for approval, however in October 2017 Wrexham.com reported that the plans for the property had been rejected by 13 members of the planning committee amid concerns about the ‘substandard amenity for potential tenants’ in the property.
Documents released yesterday confirmed that the application had been granted on appeal.
In November 2018 an appeal was lodged by the BluSky Developments Ltd, who said “the reason for refusal is based entirely on personal agenda rather than factual evidence”.
Councillor Phil Wynn and the planning committee course of business was strongly criticised in the appeal form, with it noted: “Mr Phil Wynn, who strongly objected and gained support in the planning meeting, was rather cynical in suggesting people who reside in HMOs cause ‘anti social behaviour’, yet voiced his concern there was not enough provision for external space.”
“We feel our application has been treated with prejudice and general dislike of HMOs” adding that “personal preference has stood in the way of common sense.”
The above feedback was sent with a line stating it was “in the aftermath of a somewhat surprisingly chaotic planning meeting.”
In his report, the planning inspector states: “The main issue in this appeal is whether the proposed development would provide acceptable living conditions for future occupiers with particular regard to the provision of external amenity space.
“Based on my observations whilst on site visit and in the absence of any minimum standards set by the Council, I consider the amenity space being proposed at the property as indicated on amended plan to be adequate to serve the needs of future occupants.”
“I therefore conclude the proposed development would provide acceptable living conditions for future occupiers with particular regard to the provision of external amenity space and as a consequence would not run contrary to policy GDP1 of the UDP.”
The application is one of three recent HMO refusals to have been granted on appeal in recent months, despite objection from planning committee members.