Wrexham HMO plans thrown out over parking concerns
Retrospective plans for a house in multiple occupation (HMO) in Wrexham have been thrown out amid concerns over the impact on parking.
The three-bedroom property in the town centre has recently been used as a five-bedroom HMO but without a licence or planning permission
Wrexham Council officials said the failure to obtain a licence for the house on Watery Road, near Island Green, had led to legal action being taken against the owners and a fine being issued.
Darren Evans and Chris Tye, who are behind the scheme, applied in July to gain formal planning permission to use it as a HMO.
The scheme was recommended for approval by planning officers from the local authority.
However, councillors refused the proposals at a meeting this week as they said it would add to existing parking problems in the area.
It was also highlighted that it would go against council guidance which limits the proportion of HMOs within a given area.
Speaking at Monday’s (January 10, 2022) planning committee meeting, local councillor Phil Wynn said: “It does fill me with great sadness that you’ve been asked to approve what I believe to be substandard living accommodation for occupancy by the most vulnerable members of our society.
“Let’s bear in mind there are nine HMOs within a very close walking proximity of this proposed development.
“This community is inundated on a daily basis with the pressures of trying to find somewhere to park near their property.
“The proposal comes with zero off-street parking provision, and I think that anything that adds to the burden that the residents in this locality are facing should be refused.”
The council’s planning guidance states that the proportion of HMOs within a certain area should not exceed ten per cent of the overall properties.
According to a report presented to the committee, the proposals would have led to an increase in the concentration of HMOs within a 50 metre radius of the house to twelve per cent.
The authority’s chief planning officer Lawrence Isted had argued it was “unlikely” to harm the character of the area and that tenants on low incomes were less likely to own cars.
But other councillors who represent town centre areas raised similar concerns to Cllr Wynn.
Cllr Marc Jones, who represents part of Rhosddu, said: “The local planning guidance was imposed because of the impact that over concentration was having on the area around the town centre specifically.
“It is disappointing to see this being dismissed by officers as I think it’s a valid reason for refusal.
“It appears licensing have just had a fine imposed for this site being an unlicensed HMO.
“I do wonder what sort of message granting planning permission sends out to people who choose to flout licensing and I don’t think it’s a particularly positive message.”
Councillors decided to deny permission by 18 votes to one at the end of the debate.
By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter
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