Neighbours voice anger over HMO plan in Walsall

Residents are worried a proposed HMO in a Walsall street will bring about a rise in crime, anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping and parking problems.

A house in Sandwell Street, Walsall, which could be converted into a HMO. Photo: Google Maps
A house in Sandwell Street, Walsall, which could be converted into a HMO. Photo: Google Maps

Dozens of Sandwell Street neighbours have voiced their opposition to plans by Talati Investments to convert a three-bedroom family home into a nine-person house of multiple occupancy.

The application is due to be decided at a Walsall Council planning committee meeting on October 7, with officers recommending it is given the green light.

However, Walsall South MP Valerie Vaz and a number of neighbours have raised a number of objections to the proposal, which they believe will ruin the street.

In a report to committee members, officers said the objections included worries about a nearby cannabis factory, exasperated anti-social behaviour, destruction of community spirit and an increase in parking pressures and noise.

Concerns were also raised about future occupiers being ex-offenders.

Housing Standards officers have also raised concerns about an over-supply of HMOs in Walsall while highways officers said parking issues needed to be resolved.

But planning officers said no evidence had been provided in relation to claims about crime, fly-tipping or the identity of the future HMO residents.

They also added the developers were in discussions with highways officers to address parking issues.

The developers said the HMO would address social housing needs, adding the operators had a strict no anti-social behaviour policy in place.

A report to committee said comments by neighbours included: “There is serious crime/anti-social behaviour in the area. Caldmore (is) known for anti-social behaviour.

“There is a cannabis factory in the area. End users will have no respect to others/cause noise/anti-social behaviour.

“Neighbours are annoyed with the proposal. The proposal will change the character of the street and lead to more noise, disruption and pollution.”

Mrs Vaz added: “My constituents who live on Sandwell Street are alarmed by this application.

“They had been advised that this property would be modernized into a family dwelling, an acceptable proposal for a quiet, residential area.

“However, this proposal for 9 bedrooms in a single property is completely unacceptable and would lead to overcrowding and congestion.

“This application would contribute to the already unacceptable level of overcrowded accommodation in St Matthew’s. There is currently a 5 Bedroomed HMO on Sandwell Street.

“The two parking spaces proposed is insufficient for a narrow residential road. A potential nine or more cars would be intolerable for residents.

“Local residents are overwhelmingly opposed to this application and call on the committee to refuse permission for this ill-conceived proposal.”

Walsall Council planning officer Fiona Fuller said: “The proposed change of use is not considered to have any significantly adverse impact on the character of the area, residential amenity or community.

“Subject to the resolution of the parking and visibility issues, it is considered that the application should be recommended for approval subject to conditions.”

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