Home » Conwy: Bedsit decision called in
Conwy North Wales Politics Politics

Conwy: Bedsit decision called in

A DECISION to ease a blanket ban on bedsits in Conwy could be reversed after a group of councillors called it in. 

Last month Conwy’s cabinet backed a study that proposed allowing developers to again submit plans for bedsits in the county. 

Previously Conwy had imposed a blanket ban on all bedsit planning applications, to stop large homes in towns such as Colwyn Bay from being broken up into houses of multiple occupation (HMOs). 
HMOs are houses in which residents with no connection share toilet and kitchen facilities.  
An influx of HMO accommodation in some towns was thought to be responsible for bringing a range of socio-economic problems. 
Consequently, Conwy introduced a blanket ban on HMO applications, a ban that the cabinet wanted to relax after the planning inspectorate overturned several planning applications rejected by Conwy. 

But cabinet members admitted Conwy was struggling with, what is now, a £21m funding gap in the next year, coupled with a homelessness and housing crisis, and councillors said lifting the ban and introducing strict guidelines would give the council more control.  
The cabinet then backed the 100-page study in January, despite Conwy’s economy and place scrutiny committee rejecting the report before Christmas.  
Now a group of worried councillors have called the decision in.  

The councillors who called in the decision in the letter, dated January 18, are councillors Harry Saville, Louise Emery, Samantha Cotton, Frank Bradfield, Anthony Bertola, and Thomas Montgomery.  
The decision is set to be re-debated at the scrutiny committee on February 15. 

Conservative councillor Harry Saville commented: “It was very disappointing that Conwy Council’s independent/Labour leadership decided to ignore the recommendation made by the cross-party scrutiny committee which had a thorough debate on this topic.  
“When council officials attended the scrutiny committee, their arguments for relaxing the local planning rules that restrict the number of HMOs didn’t stand up when challenged.  
“What we need to see is bold action from the council to deliver more good quality social housing, and more HMOs are no substitute for this.” 
He added: “I hope that the council’s leadership listen to the concerns raised by local councillors and take these on board, rather than again trying to steamroller through their poorly thought-out plans.”

A Conwy County Council spokeswoman commented:  “Overview and scrutiny committees continually monitor and review the decisions of the cabinet.
“Overview and scrutiny committees are able to use the call-in procedure to request that the cabinet reconsider its decision, or they can make an alternative recommendation for the cabinet to consider.”