Fiercely-contested eight-bed housing plan for residential Barrow street recommended for approval
A CONTROVERSIAL plan to convert a terraced property into an seven-bedroom house-share is being recommended for approval despite 25 separate objections from residents.
Applicant Matthew Johnson wants to turn the property in Park Avenue, Barrow, into a house of multiple occupation which would provide accommodation for eight individual tenants with seven rooms and a self-contained flat.
A HMO is a property rented by at least three people who are not from one household, such as a family, but share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen.
The plans have been met with fierce objection from neighbouring residents, who have voiced concerns about car parking and believe the HMO is not in keeping with the existing community.
Tomorrow Barrow Borough Council's planning committee will meet to make a decision on the application, which has been recommended for approval by town hall officers.
Councillors on the committee will consider a total of 25 objections from residents of Park Avenue.
One claimed that a HMO would bring "crime, noise and bad neighbours" and said "it is not welcome in the avenue".
Another made an impassioned plea to the applicant, described as a "former neighbour", and said: "I would challenge our former neighbours to put themselves in our position and tell me how they would feel about the plans if we had tried to put their family in this unwanted predicament.
"Their family will enjoy a better future but at the cost of ours; their plans will not only devalue our home but make it less attractive to sell should we ever want to move, which is more likely should these plans be passed.
"Our family implores you to turn down this application."
At a planning meeting last month, tempers flared between residents as they spoke out strongly against the proposal.
They were backed by Councillor Brendan Sweeney, who ended up walking out of the meeting after being warned about his repeated interruptions.
In the planning officer's conclusions, set to be heard by the committee on Tuesday, the application is recommended for approval.
The officer concludes: "It is considered that the character of both the property and the surrounding area will not be significantly harmed... the size of the property (makes) it possible to provide the number of bedrooms sought and still provide suitable living accommodation.
"The use of the building remains as residential and... the amenity of adjoining and surrounding residents should not significantly alter."
Planning applications are only required for HMOs with seven or more bedrooms.
The planning officer adds: "A six-bed HMO can be provided without consent... the small increase to that level is considered to be sustainable development."