Posted: Thu 4th Mar 2021

Shotton HMO plans receive green light as councillors told ‘no evidence’ it would cause anti-social behaviour

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Mar 4th, 2021

Plans to convert a family home in Shotton into a house in multiple occupation (HMO) have been given the green light after concerns it could lead to more crime were dismissed.

Senior councillors were told last month that an increasing number of complaints have been raised about crime in the town.

As a result, members of the ruling Labour cabinet appoved the creation of a master plan to improve the area.

Fears were raised that the latest proposals for a five-bedroom HMO on Chester Road East could jeopardise efforts to regenerate the town by adding to the anti-social behaviour problems.

However, members of Flintshire Council’s planning committee were yesterday (Wednesday, 3 March) told there was no evidence to support such an argument.

Speaking at a virtual meeting to decide on the scheme, planning officer Claire Morter said: “This would provide five affordable units and thinking forward, the concept of sustainable urbanism where you’re providing a mixture of housing types is important.

“One issue that has been raised is in terms of antisocial behaviour and that’s not something that is a material consideration that would be dealt with under the appropriate legislation.

“There isn’t any evidence that a house of multiple occupation would create any greater antisocial behaviour than you would get from a four bedroom dwelling in this location.

“Reference is made to the Shotton Master Plan, which as I understand it is at a very early stage of consideration.”

Five objections were received against the plans with one person claiming that some HMOs in the town are being used by criminals to hide drugs.

Concerns were also raised that there would not be enough room for tenants to park.

But councillors accepted there were no planning grounds to refuse permission, despite expressing reservations.

Cllr Derek Butler, the council’s cabinet member for economic development, said: “With the issues with the Shotton Master Plan in the offing, I am reluctant, but I think the officer has spelt out the issues very succinctly.

“I’m finding it really difficult to find planning policy to reject and that is the only reason that I am putting it forward for the vote.”

In a report presented to the committee, chief planning officer Andrew Farrow said on-street parking problems had been raised, with claims the HMO would make the situation worse.

However, he said the retention of an existing garage and small increase in people living at the house meant it should not lead to the refusal of the application.

Cllr Chris Bithell, cabinet member for planning, said the council had a problem with HMOS but did not have a policy to deal with the amount of them.

He said: “There’s a number of these in Shotton and they are causing problems in the area, according to the local member.

“The people in the community are having to live with this and we can’t simply ignore that.

“We are trying to establish some sort of policy in the Local Development Plan by which we can put a figure on the density of such properties in an area so that we don’t reach a situation where we’re overburdened.

“But we’re not there yet and we’re still waiting to add some more detail to the recommendations that we’re making.”

The proposals were approved by a majority vote at the end of the debate.

Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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