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 (more here on the LDR scheme).
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