Monday, 12 June 2017

Anger over HMO plan for busy Wrexham street

A planning application to allow a terrace house to be converted into a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) has been deferred by councillors angry at the problems caused by Wrexham's booming private rental industry.

The house at 10 Talbot Rd had already been turned into a two twin-room home and the owner has since sub-divided once more to fit in a total of seven people. The retrospective planning application was to approve this further sub-division.

Plaid Cymru's representative on the planning committee, Councillor Marc Jones, said Talbot Road was part of Wrexham's busy inner ring road, where parking is so bad that cars straddle both pavements. There are regular jams on the road due to this problem. More people in this area will inevitably mean more cars and more problems for residents.

He added:
"One objector to the application had stated that the street of 45 homes only had 10 families living there. Despite this, the council's own statistics suggested only four HMOs within 50 metres of the house."
Councillors heard that the size of the rooms in the house did not meet licensing guidelines. There were also concerns about the tenant's amenity space.

One main obstacle to the feeling among councillors to reject the planning application was the knowledge that the Planning Inspectorate had already overturned a similar objection on the grounds that there were too many HMOs in the area.

That view was challenged by Cllr Jones. He said: 
"The retrospective planning application puts the council in a difficult position. Despite the Planning Inspector siding with the landlord in the past, this council should not roll over, otherwise I'd question the point of having this committee at all.
"There's no thought been given here for either the tenants who have to live in this house or the neighbourhood as a whole."
Cllr Jones moved a motion to defer the application on the basis that more work was needed to assess the density of HMOs in the area, which could form the basis of a legitimate grounds for refusal.

He was supported 9-5 by the planning committee. The application will come back to the planning committee next month.

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