Plans for 9-bedroom HMO in Bideford High Street were approved

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After councillors could not find a ‘robust’ planning reason for refusal, they have approved plans for a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) in Bideford.

Torridge District Council’s plans committee members initially voted five-votes-to-four to refuse the application for the nine-bedroom HMO above Barclays Bank in Bideford High Street.

But after the committee chairman Rose Lock told them that they must think of robust planning reasons for refusal, they were left scratching their heads.

The meeting was taken into part two and the public ejected for members to get advice from the senior solicitor.

Members had a change of heart and all but one voted to approve the plans, after a 15-minute discussion behind closed doors.

The only councillor to vote against the proposals, councillor Peter Christie,said he was feeling that the idea of a HMO with nine bedrooms and only two kitchenettes was ‘archaic’.

“I think it’s excellent these underused properties can be brought back into use but what I do have a problem with is shared facilities.

“In this day and age it seems archaic; I can’t believe we’ve got two kitchenettes serving nine people. There are going to be personality clashes.” – he said.

Christie also added that there had been problems with similar HMOs in Torridge, so that’s why he could not support it.

Members also raised issues with the idea of a waste and recycling area in the small hallway, saying it would cause issues such as bad smells.

But the waste and recycling officers in Torridge had no objection to the plans,they were told.

Another councillor Kenny Davis said he was concerned about a lack of parking. But the committee heard Highways had no objections to the proposals.

There was also another concern, that if each occupant had a bike, there will not be enough space in the hallway.

Councillors added an amendment to the application, after their discussions in part two, a condition that there must be a specified area for bicycle and pushchair storage provided.

By adding this amendment it meant they could vote on the proposals again and approve the plans.

The top two floors of the building are currently vacant.


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