Posted: Fri 5th Apr 2024

Controversial HMO Proposal in Dowlais to Return Before Councillors /

Plans for an HMO in Dowlais which have drawn public objections are due to go back before councillors.
The application for 2 Overton Street is for the change of use from a four bedroom house to a six bedroom House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).
Merthyr Tydfil Council’s planning committee carried out a site visit after it had previously come before them in February.
The main planning-related issues raised during the fact finding site visit centred around the impact the HMO would have on the character of the residential area, the amenities of nearby occupiers and the parking provision within the street and the nearby car park, but the planning report said that the points raised at the fact finding site visit did not highlight any new issues
that would alter the original recommendation to committee, which was to approve it.
There were nine letters of objection to the application which included concerns that the proposal would change the fabric of this small street and be detrimental to its character, which is mainly made up of families with young children, causing an adverse long term effect on nearby residents.
They also said that the street was already heavily congested and the parking situation was extremely difficult. Whist there was a car park across the road from the property, this filled up very quickly and the creation of a HMO property would only exacerbate this issue, especially if its occupants were professionals and all owned a vehicle.
Another concern was that the provision of an HMO would result in disruptions and other nuisances and deteriorate the existing quiet and safe street it currently was, and another said that the proposal was likely to result in an increase in anti-social behaviour, which had been evident at a nearby HMO. There were also concerns in respect of who would deal with such issues.
The objectors said the proposed use would increase the risk of fire at the property, which could have devastating consequences for its occupiers and surrounding residents and that the street already had a high level of anti-social behaviour, particularly near the archway access, which provided a pedestrian route from Overton Street to Alma Street.
They said that given that the street was largely made up of families with children, the proposed use would present a massive risk to residents, given the likely profile of people who would be housed there, namely persons who had committed offences and individuals with complex needs.
They said the development would give rise to concerns of personal safety for
existing residents in the area and that it might have an impact on the mental wellbeing of existing residents.
They also raised concerns about the type of persons that might occupy the property that would be unsuitable for a street of families with young children.
Responding to these concerns in the planning report, officers said that in relation to concerns regarding the type of occupiers who might live at the property, that this was not a material planning consideration.
In relation to the potential for it to cause distress and anxiety amongst surrounding residents, particularly in response to potential occupiers of the HMO, they said this would not be a matter that could be controlled through the planning process.
They said consideration had been given to the impact of the proposal on the amenities of surrounding residents, and as the property would continue to be used for residential purposes, the proposal would not be considered significantly different to the existing use that might otherwise be detrimental to nearby occupiers.
The application goes back before committee on Thursday, April 11. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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