Posted: Wed 18th Oct 2023

Buckley: Former priest house cleared for HMO transformation

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Oct 18th, 2023

Plans to turn a former priest house in Buckley into a seven-bedroom house of multiple occupation (HMO) have been approved.

Flintshire Council’s planning department has granted consent for the conversion of the property on Brunswick Road in the town.

Last year the council’s planning committee rejected the proposals due to concerns about amenity space and parking.

An appeal was then dismissed as although the planning inspectorate disagreed with the reasons for refusal they were concerned some of the residents would be harmed by the closeness of windows to a neighbouring development, which allowed for little outlook and a reduction of natural light.

A design and access statement submitted with the new application by EDGE Architects NW Ltd on behalf of the applicant EMW Developments sought to address these issues.

It said: “The Presby (or Priest House) lies to the east of the Roman Catholic Church which is currently undergoing a renovation to form two dwellings, and to the west of the former scout hut, a site also to be redeveloped to form two dwellings.

“The proposal would be to convert the property to provide seven bedrooms to accommodate a house in multiple occupation (HMO). The property is located facing the main road and is surrounded by residential properties of varying design and house types.”

Addressing parking concerns neither the council’s planning officer, nor the Welsh Government’s planning inspectorate, felt the change of use for the property would have an adverse effect and cause indiscriminate parking.

In a report the planning officer states that minor changes to the original plans regarding windows had dealt with the concerns of the planning inspectorate.

“In order to overcome this objection, the scheme has been amended to include a window at ground floor level serving bedroom one”, the report says.

“This has been created by extending the bedroom slightly into the shared living space, allowing room to insert a window in the side elevation to allow a greater amount of light and outlook to that room.

“It is a minor change but will alleviate the ‘oppressive environment’ mentioned by the inspector.
“In bedroom seven, above, a new high-level window is to be inserted. This will provide a greater amount of light into the room but will not allow for adverse overlooking. It is considered that these changes, although minor, overcome the inspectors’ concerns.”

With fears that a seven-bedroom HMO could house up to 14 occupants, conditions have been added to ensure the number of residents at the property is limited to seven with a single occupancy condition applied.

The planning officer report adds: “I consider that this premises is an appropriate location for a single HMO.

“I find that there would be no material difference in its operation as a lawful dwelling from the point of view of its impact upon local amenity, and the character of the area.

“The proposal is acceptable with regard to the development plan policies and other material considerations and I recommend accordingly.”

Flintshire Council’s chief planning officer Andrew Farrow granted permission for the change of use in a delegated decision.

By Rory Sheehan – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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