'Undesirables' fear over HMO plan sparks petition

A petition has been launched against plans to transform an Oldbury home into an eight-bedroom HMO.

Councillors Jo Hadley and Rizwan Jalil with residents in St James Road
Councillors Jo Hadley and Rizwan Jalil with residents in St James Road

Under plans submitted to Sandwell Council, the detached property at 54 St James Road will undergo rear and side extensions and become a house of multiple occupancy.

The work will create four bedrooms with shower rooms and a kitchen diner and a utility room on the ground floor, with a further four bedrooms with shower rooms on the first floor.

However, residents are opposing the scheme over fears of an increase in anti-social behaviour and extra traffic and parking problems.

Great Bridge councillor Joanne Hadley, who lives on St James Road, has launched a petition calling for the scheme to be scrapped.

She said residents and local businesses were furious at the proposals, having already suffered misery as a result of another HMO in a nearby street.

Mrs Hadley, who is a former cabinet member for homes at the authority, said: "We have had issues of anti-social behaviour due to houses of multiple occupancy before, and people are clearly concerned about the proposals for St James Road.

"For all we know the people living there could be undesirables.

"This is a really tight road and everybody struggles for parking as it is. It can't take any extra traffic. There is also a school just around the corner and we have to consider protecting the children."

The plans for the scheme, submitted by Lavanya Gamsani, says it would have four car parking spaces.

It comes after residents in another Oldbury street, Suffolk Close, launched a campaign to stop a property there being transformed into a five-bedroom HMO.

They have cited concerns over the potential for anti-social behaviour and a rise in crime including drug dealing, as well as fly-tipping and parking problems.

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