15 May 2019
TENANTS at a seven-bedroom shared house could be affected by a council decision to turn down a plans to change the status of the property.
Officers at the town hall have refused permission to continue using the Westhoughton property as a seven-bedroom house in multiple occupation (HMO).
The council is now considering “enforcement action” to reduce the number of occupiers at the house to six.
The sale of the property may also fall through as Matthew Sixsmith, who applied for the change before purchasing the property in Bolton Road, is reconsidering his options.
Speaking on behalf of the prospective buyer, architect Tony Lang told us that property has been used as an HMO since 2016.
The retrospective planning application was submitted by Mr Sixsmith in March when he discovered that the property did not have permission in place to operate as a seven-bedroom HMO.
Planning officers considered the proposal as “overdevelopment” of the site, noting that it fails to provide amenity space for the occupants.
This has resulted in bins being stored along the side of the property in Derby Street which officers described as “poor refuse management”.
The decision notice states that the proposal would be “detrimental” to the character of the site and the surrounding area as well as the living conditions of the occupiers at the host property.
Mr Lang claimed that bins were taken away from the property because the current tenants were not recycling properly.
The RT Design partner also said that the there is no space behind the property to store the bins.
He said: “It’s already a six-bedroom HMO. The fact that it’s one more person doesn’t make any difference to the bins.”
Town councillors in Westhoughton discussed the application in March but found no reason to object to the plans.
Former Labour councillor Ryan Battersby said that it would be “churlish” not to approve the plans.
Converting a family home to an HMO with a maximum of six people falls under “permitted development” which means no planning permission is required.
However, an HMO for seven or more occupiers must be approved by the council.
A council spokesman said: “As planning permission has been refused, we are now considering our next steps, which could include enforcement action.”