A DEVELOPER has won a long campaign for planning permission to open a HMO near the former TJs nightclub in Newport.
The HMO bid was approved despite objections from some neighbours, including one who feared more crime in an area they likened to a “zombie apocalypse”.
City council planners have given the green light for the conversion of a “dilapidated” listed building in Clarence Place, four months after knocking back the original application.
Bats had proved the sticking point in June, when councillors on the planning committee rejected the HMO because the applicant had not inspected the building for the animals.
The premises at 10 Clarence Place has since passed an inspection for bat and bird activity, paving the way for council planners to approve the HMO conversion.
HMOs (houses in multiple occupation) are typically residences for individual adults, and contain private bedrooms but shared communal and living facilities, such as kitchens.
The conversion of the Clarence Place building – which sits between the famous former music venue TJs and the old city Arts College – will turn the space into a HMO for a maximum of five people.
The site is “in severe need of investment to reinstate the building to beneficial use”, according to a report by agents Kew Planning, who said the HMO conversion would “provide a practical, beneficial use for the building through contributing to Newport’s housing stock and reintroducing economic activity within the derelict ground floor”.
But the HMO plan drew criticism from several neighbours, including concerns over parking and anti-social behaviour.
One told Newport City Council they were “against all HMOs” and feared there could be “increased crime in the area”.
“Clarence Place often looks like a zombie apocalypse,” they alleged.
Another neighbour lodged a “strong” objection, including that building work could pose “a direct threat to the well-being and tranquillity of the neighbourhood”.
But the revised planning application received no objections from the council’s conservation officer or from Welsh heritage organisation Cadw.
The developer will require listed building consent from the city council before work on the HMO can begin.