BARROW has a 'real problem' with houses of multiple occupation, the town's MP has said.

A number of homes and former retail units in the area are being converted into HMOs as the shipyard's workforce expands.

But residents are up in arms about homes in built-up residential areas being 'carved up' to become house shares and placing 'intolerable' burdens on communities, Simon Fell said.

He said he had hundreds of complaints from people in the area about new HMOs.

Shops, former pubs, hotels and former family homes are being converted into HMOs.

But some proposals have previously been knocked back by councillors by furious neighbours.

 Mr Fell said: "There is nothing wrong with HMOs per se - converting retail properties so that shops can operate with reduced rent, and making housing available above, for instance, is very welcome, as is converting large buildings into decently sized accommodation which is much needed in Furness.

"But there is a substantial issue with what is more commonly referred to as HMOs - mid-sized properties being carved up into effective bunk houses - placing intolerable burdens on local residents and the community.

"I've had hundreds of constituents raise this with, alongside the council who asked me to make representations to the Government on the issue."

Mr Fell said he had discussed the issue with the housing minister and 'sought powers for councils to have more power over this issue, just as we are doing with short-term lets'.

The MP recently told a public meeting on another issue in Millom that Barrow had a 'real problem' with HMOs. 

There are a number of pending applications for HMOs in Barrow which could bring nearly 100 more rooms to the town, with a ‘significant rise’ in demand post-pandemic.

Developers have applied to Westmorland and Furness Council for planning permission for five new HMOs in Barrow which could add 93 bedrooms to the area.

Planning permission is required from the council to convert a property into an HMO with six or more occupiers.

Around 7,000 workers are due to be recruited by BAE over the coming years, increasing demand for housing.