Wrexham Council accused of being reluctant to approve HMO proposals
Wrexham Council has been accused of being reluctant to allow any more houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) to be created in the county.
It follows the rejection of plans to turn a family home on Salop Road into five bedsits because of the large number of similar properties nearby.
A number of concerns have been raised by both councillors and residents about problems arising from HMOs in recent years, such as an increased demand on parking and rubbish being left piled up on streets.
A planning inspector has also highlighted how they are making the main Mold Road gateway into Wrexham a less attractive place to live.
Planning agent Bob Dewey, who is acting on behalf of the landlord behind the latest proposals, said he acknowledged some of the issues raised.
However, he claimed there was a need for low cost accommodation in the area and criticised the small amount of HMOs being approved by the local authority.
In the appeal documents, he said: “There is a strong feeling that the council does not wish to permit any further HMOs.
“Tragically, the term HMO seems to have become has become a term of condemnation.
“Local people and planning councillors seem to have associated such a use with bad management by owners and anti-social behaviours by the occupiers.
“There is no doubt an element of truth in this concern, but experience appears to suggest that problems mainly arise from properties run by institutional operators and absentee landlords.
“The appellant is a local man anxious to provide a good service to people who require this type of accommodation.
“It is not in his interest to let the property in a manner which would create problems for him or for the locality or his neighbours.”
In refusing the application, the council said the proposed development would result in an over concentration of HMOs within the area.
The authority’s guidelines set out a maximum of ten per cent of bedsits within a 50 metre radius of any given location.
It also said the plans would cause an increase in demand for parking on the street, adding to existing problems.
In response, Mr Dewey said the one parking space outlined would be sufficient as he claimed most people living in the property would not own a car.
The appeal will be decided by an inspector appointed by the Welsh Government at a later date.
By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter (more here on the LDR scheme).
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