Posted: Thu 23rd Mar 2023

Plans to turn part of a Shotton shop into an 8 bedroom HMO earmarked for approval

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Mar 23rd, 2023

Plans to turn part of an empty town centre shop in Shotton into an eight-bedroom house of multiple occupation (HMO) could be given the go-ahead next week despite community concerns.

Flintshire Council’s planning committee is set to review a recommendation for the approval of the development during their meeting next week.

The current plans were initially put forward in November 2021 to create living accommodations within the former Potluck haberdashery store on Chester Road West.

A previous application was approved for three apartments above the shop in 2018.

The proposed development would see the ground floor retail unit retained while eight bedrooms will be created on the upper floors.

The development has faced objections from the community and town council members due to the rising number of HMOs in Shotton.

Concerns have been raised about the town centre’s capacity to manage the increased strain on services, amenities, waste collection, and parking.

When plans were first lodged with Flintshire Council, a consultation was launched with local residents, resulting in around 40 letters objecting to the proposal.

Many voiced concerns about the character of the community in Shotton changing as family homes and commercial units are being converted by property developers, often from outside the county.

Rear of the shop

According to documents going before Flintshire Council’s planning committee next week, “56 Neighbour Notifications were sent to adjoining and nearby properties.”

“Following receipt of amended plans, a further full period of consultation with the same properties was undertaken and only one letter of objection has been received.”

Much needed accommodation 

The document notes that the HMO will provide “low-cost accommodation for single occupants.”

The development would “bring vacant retail premises back into use, revitalising this part of the town centre, and create low-cost living accommodation for eight single occupants.”

“Housing Strategy is in support of the proposals in this location and welcomes eight bedrooms due to the significant number of single-person homeless applicants in the Flintshire area, over 100 of which are in temporary accommodation.”

Shotton West Councillor Sean Bibby, Flintshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration supported local residents’ concerns and requested that the Planning Committee carefully consider the application in light of the potential impacts on the Shotton community.

Following a full Town Council meeting, members chose to maintain their objections to all new HMO development within the area.

Town councillors have voiced concerns about overcrowding within the properties and potential issues in the immediate vicinity.

Council members have expressed their preference for Council or Housing Association control over such properties to ensure the maintenance of standards.

The Flintshire Council currently lacks planning guidance on HMO size or layout regarding acceptable living conditions.

However, the proposed HMO meets the Welsh Government’s minimum standards with eight bedrooms, six en-suite bathrooms, and shared living space.

According to a report by Flintshire Chief Planning Officer Andrew Farrow, the application aims for single occupancy, and a condition will be imposed to maintain that level.

The HMO proposal involves minimal external changes, and its refurbishment is expected to positively enhance the building and town centre.

Mr Farrow notes the HMO is located near public parking facilities, key transport links, and active travel routes; the HMO isn’t required to provide parking.

Despite objections, the application is deemed acceptable in terms of policy and will not detrimentally affect the living conditions of future occupants or the character of the property.

In conclusion, Mr Farrow said: “It is considered that the proposal is in accordance with the relevant Local Development Plan policies… there is minimal alteration to the external appearance of the building, maintaining its character.

“A vacant retail unit will be brought back into productive use and the amenity of future residents and neighbours will not be impacted.”

“On this basis and having considered the objections received and all other matters, it is recommended that planning permission is granted.”

Flintshire Council’s planning committee will make a decision on the application at their meeting on Wednesday, March 29.

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