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Shotton HMO plans approved despite strong objections from community

The property on Salisbury Street, Shotton (Pic: Google Street View)

PLANS to turn a family home in Shotton into a house of multiple occupation (HMO) have received the green light despite concerns it will harm the community.

An application to convert a three-bedroom property on Salisbury Street in the town into a four-bedroom HMO was considered by Flintshire Council’s planning committee on Wednesday (April 10, 2024).

A senior official recommended councillors should back the scheme, subject to a condition limiting the number of people who can live at the property to five.

Community leaders and local residents voiced strong objections ahead of the meeting due to concerns it would change the character of the area, with several other bedsits on the same street.

It was also claimed that the plans would add to current parking issues on the road.

A statement was read out at the meeting at County Hall in Mold from local councillor Sean Bibby (Lab), who raised multiple objections.

It read: “The top of Salisbury Street is already very overdeveloped and there is significant pressure on services, waste collection and parking.

“There are currently eight properties which have either been subdivided into flats or HMOs at top of the street, along with further similar developments backing onto the area from Chester Road West.

“I believe more properties of this nature would constitute gross overdevelopment of Salisbury Street.

“Many family properties are sandwiched between HMOs or multiple flat conversions.

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“Salisbury Street has significant issues with parking and nearly all properties have no off-road parking facilities.”

A total of 20 letters were submitted by residents opposing the scheme before the meeting, while members of Shotton Town Council also objected.

However, the council’s chief planning officer advised that the proposals should be approved.

In a report, Andrew Farrow said the change of use of the property was in keeping with the authority’s policies.

Cllr Chris Bithell (Lab), cabinet member for planning, was among the committee members who supported the officer’s recommendation, despite expressing sympathy with the objectors.

He said: “There are locations in the county, which have been affected more than others in relation to applications for HMOs.

“The number in the Shotton, Connah’s Quay and Queensferry areas have been quite significant.

“There’s a large number of objectors in these areas who have first-hand experience of living in streets where there are a number of these HMOs and it does have an impact on them.

“I sincerely hope that we can come to a firm planning guidance note in relation to HMOs in these areas to give some relief to the people who live there.”

In his report, Mr Farrow said he did not believe the character of the area would be impacted by the proposals.

Despite no off-road parking facilities being provided, he said the property was in a “highly sustainable” location.

He added that tenants would be vetted to ensure they do not own a car, but some councillors raised doubts over how feasible it would be to enforce.

The application was approved by eight votes to five at the end of the debate, with one abstention.