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‘Eyesore’ Buckley buildings set to be converted into 12-bedroom HMO

Plans showing how a former electrical supplies store on Mold Road, Buckley could be turned into an HMO (Pic: Google)

A FORMER shop and offices in Buckley are to be converted into a 12-bed house of multiple occupation (HMO) after the building was branded an “eyesore”.

Permission to redevelop the former electrical supplies store on Mold Road was granted yesterday (Wednesday, 19 June) by Flintshire Council’s planning committee .

It came despite concerns being raised before their meeting that it would lead to problems with parking, traffic and anti-social behaviour.

When the proposals were first put forward by Salvatore Molica-Franco in September last year, it was for a larger amount of 14 beds.

However, this was later reduced following talks between the local authority and the applicant.

The committee was addressed at the start of the meeting by a planning agent acting on behalf of Mr Molica-Franco.

Endaf Robert said the rooms would be targeted at working professionals who can’t afford to buy a house.

Speaking at County Hall in Mold, he said: “The proposed development is a sustainable and appropriate use of a building that has been predominantly derelict for the best part of 30 years. It’s become an eyesore in a prominent location in Buckley.

“The applicant is a local person who lives and grew up within a stone’s throw of this site and is passionate about the regeneration of Buckley.

“The applicant will be targeting a highly skilled professional demographic that currently can’t afford to invest themselves.

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“This will add to the culture of the town and the area as well as providing an economic benefit.”

Before the meeting, opposition was voiced by local councillors Dan Rose and Carolyn Preece due to the scale of the development.

Eight letters of objection were also submitted by residents, with one claiming the character of community would be “negatively impacted” by the scheme.

However, the council’s chief planning officer said the property had been empty for a long time and was suitable to be used for residential purposes.

Among those who supported the proposals was Buckley Pentrobin councillor Mike Peers.

He said: “Given the prominence of this building on the junction of Bistre Avenue and Mold Road, I agree that it is an eyesore.

“We have another one in a very prominent position in the form of the old factory shop in Buckey, and we need to do something about it.

“It will provide occupancy for people who may not be able to afford to get on the housing ladder.”

Cllr Peers did raise some concerns regarding a lack of parking spaces to serve the development.

But officers said the issue could be addressed by the presence of a nearby car park and public transport facilities.

Cllr Chris Bithell, Flintshire cabinet member for planning, also backed the scheme despite taking issue with a lack of outdoor space for residents.

He said: “The application complies with our policies, and I don’t think there’s any grounds for refusal.

“It’s important that we’ve got a building here which has been empty for a long time and a use has got to be found for it.

“This is a suitable use within the town centre and there’s obviously a need for this kind of accommodation.”

The application was approved with 14 councillors voting in favour and one abstention from Buckley Bistre East representative Richard Jones.