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Merthyr Tydfil Politics South Wales

Concerns raised over plans to turn B&B into HMO in Merthyr Tydfil

Mount Pleasant In Merthyr Vale (Pic: Google Maps)

RESIDENTS have raised their concerns about plans to turn a B&B in Merthyr Tydfil into an HMO and the impact it could have on the community.

There is an application to convert the former Mount Pleasant Hotel bed and breakfast in Mount Pleasant, Merthyr Vale into two flats and a six bedroom house in multiple occupation (HMO).

Andrew Challis is among those campaigning against the plans and said: “We live in a small tight-knit community that is a lovely place to live. Generations of families live here and have done for a hundred or so years.

“We feel safe here, we have great memories here.” We have slowly had everything taken from us – our shops were first to go, then our beloved primary school and most recently our public house that had become a base for the community following the school closure.

“A HMO would very much change the whole ethos of this community and ultimately destroy such a lovely community, which are very hard to come by these days.

“Under the proposals the HMO would sit in the middle of our community that is made up of only three streets. We have so many concerns regarding this proposed planning, safeguarding being our main concern.”

The proposal applicant said their properties are very strictly managed with dedicated house managers who visit every day to check on the condition of the homes.

However, Mr Challis said there are 1275 signatures on a petition which has been handed into the council’s planning department and that residents are sending emails of opposition in to.

He said: “We have older vulnerable residents living within our community who would be severely affected and upset by any untoward, unacceptable behaviour that may arise from the HMO.

“In addition to this there are many families with young children residing in the area and I’m sure I don’t need to outline the risks such behaviour would pose to children.”

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He said they have a children’s playground and playing fields in Mount Pleasant which is well used by local children and that their safety is paramount.

D2 PropCo Limited is the applicant and was established in 2017 with the aim to provide temporary accommodation for the homeless. A spokesperson for the company said that management of the properties is the most important thing they do.

They said their properties are very strictly managed with dedicated house managers who visit every day to check on the condition of properties, and their aim is to keep these properties to a high standard in terms of painting, maintenance, cleaning and the welfare of tenants.

The spokesperson added that the aim is to move people from this temporary accommodation to more permanent accommodation. The company works closely with council housing teams and any issues are reported immediately.

They added that one of the purposes of camera as the property is to make sure people are actually staying there and that it is only them there. The spokesperson said they are trying to provide something that is more suitable than a B&B, adding that they charge far less and that their properties are far more appropriate with kitchens, washing facilities and lounges.

They said they are trying to provide a home until there is a move on for individuals adding that they provide things like cutlery, crockery, cleaning and weekly food packs.

The spokesperson for the company also said they’re very open with neighbours as they give out their number so people can call them if there are any issues.

While, they said they can never guarantee there won’t be an issue, they are available and they will deal with it and that any breaches of rules are reported back to the local authority.

They said that people can report things at any time of night adding that they do manage their properties very intensively.

The spokesperson said they build relationships with neighbours and contact them regularly and that people’s perceptions do change.

They said that they are housing some of the most vulnerable people in council areas and that B&Bs and hotels are inappropriate and expensive.

They added that they feel their model gives tenants a better outcome and that there are two they’ve had for five years in Merthyr which they don’t have issues with.

The company is happy for people to approach them when an application comes in and that they did send out letters as a matter of courtesy.

There will be families housed in the two flats and the individuals in the rooms will go through checks with these tenants set to require lower levels of support.

They said they want the property to blend in and be unnoticed and said they’re trying to create properties that people will respect and want to keep nice adding that they always try to buy properties that are already HMOs or properties that are suitable for their accommodation.