'The area is becoming a slum': Residents hit out at plans for Wakefield home to be carved up into 12 short-let bedrooms

Dozens of objections have failed to halt plans to convert a Wakefield property back into a house of multiple occupancy.

By Nick Frame
Friday, 18th March 2022, 8:16 am

Proposals to put the empty house back into use as shared accommodation were met with fierce criticism from locals.

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The semi-detached house on the corner of College Grove Road will have 12 bedrooms let on a short-term lease.

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The property at College Grove Road in Wakefield will have 12 bedrooms let on a short-term lease.

But residents say it would set an undesirable precedent and lodged concerns about parking. They also voiced fears over 'undesirables' moving into the rooms, bringing problems with drinking, drug use and general anti-social behaviour.

The house has been empty for several years and was previously use as an HMO, which residents said led to trouble.

Objections were lodged by 34 people overall, as well as ward councillor Olivia Rowley.

One wrote: "The area of College Grove is slowly been turned into a slum with such HMO properties and varying trouble-causing individuals occupying such properties.

"Drink and drugs are already lowering the standard of the area and this will make the situation worse."

Another said: "There are already far too many HMOs in the College Grove area.

"It also brings an increase to the already transient population in the area, bringing in people who generally have little sense of respect or responsibility for the community.

"As a house owner in this area, I am also concerned about the inevitable decrease in value of my home as a result of this ongoing trend. Enough is enough."

A third added: "The other HMOs in the surrounding area already create an undesirable precedent, forcing people to feel frightened when leaving their homes due to the noise, excessive drinking and use of drugs outside and regular police visits."

However, Wakefield Council said it was unable to address the planning merits of the application because the applicant had applied for a lawful development certificate due to the house previously being used as an HMO.

The planners wrote: "The objections regarding the use of a HMO and presence of same in the residential area are noted, together with potential negative impacts are all noted.

"The scope of assessment in a lawful development application is limited.

"Overall, it is considered that the applicant has demonstrated that, on the balance of probability, the use of the subject property as an HMO is lawful as more than 10 years has elapsed since the material change of use began and the use has not been abandoned."

This story was first published by the Wakefield Express.