Agenda item

21/00408/FUL - Proposed change of use from care home (C2) to 3 no. self contained HMOs (Sui Generis) with associated infill extension, lay out of car park and landscaping at 61 Derby Road, Widnes, WA8 9LG


The consultation procedure undertaken was outlined in the report together with background information in respect of the site.


Officers advised the Committee that a further objection to the scheme was received over the weekend, a copy of which was emailed to the Committee today and paper copies were presented to Members at the meeting.  In response to the resident’s concerns over loss of privacy, noise and disturbance and lack of consultation, the Case Officer outlined mitigation measures that would be put in place, which would be secured by conditions.  In relation to lack of consultation, it was reported that a letter was sent to the property on 15 July 2021.


It was confirmed that the Contaminated Land Officer had raised no objections to the proposal.  In addition to the conditions required above, it was also recommended that an additional condition be added regarding the requirement for Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points.


The Committee was addressed by Mr Ireland, who spoke in objection to the proposal, representing 801 local residents.  He argued, inter alia:


·         This would be the largest House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) in Halton and would set a dangerous precedent;

·         The market was saturated with HMO’s;

·         The allocation of 13 car parking spaces was not enough for 29 rooms so on road parking would occur, causing more congestion in an already congested area;

·         Local retailers had raised concerns;

·         He disagreed with the claim that the property would provide a boost to the local economy;

·         There would be an increase in noise pollution; and

·         The peace and privacy of local residents would be impacted and the proposal had already caused stress and anxiety for many residents.


Ms Dickson, the Agent representing the Applicant, then addressed the Committee, clarifying some issues in respect of the application for the local residents:


·         The applicants had met all planning policy requirements;

·         The applicants were experienced HMO operators and would keep the property well maintained;

·         The proposal met national and local requirements and was in a sustainable location;

·         Car ownership tended to be lower amongst HMO residents;

·         Halton needed housing and the current housing market was buoyant, leaving many lower income people without the opportunity to have their own space; and

·         The location was ideal for single professional working people with good transport links.


The Committee was then addressed by local Ward Councillor Angela McInerney, who spoke in objection to the proposal, on behalf of local residents.  She outlined some facts about Farnworth within the context of the application and made the following comments inter alia:


·         Farnworth was a residential area with a mixed community but mainly families and elderly people;

·         The proposal was out of character with the area;

·         The building would be split into 3 sections – she described these and how they would be shared;

·         There would be 29 double rooms so potentially 58 people living in the building;

·         There were plenty of bedsits available for rent in Halton;

·         Farnworth Village is narrow and Derby Road is congested – there was a nursery, two primary schools and a secondary school all within the vicinity, all creating traffic congestion, which was difficult to police;

·         This development would exacerbate the congestion in the area; and

·         The applicant was not the owner of the building.


She concluded saying that she wished to record her own objections to the proposal as a resident of Farnworth and urged the Committee to refuse the application.


Following responses to Members’ questions, the following information was provided:


·         The number of people in the property at any one time could not be restricted;

·         The licence for the HMO would be issued by the Environmental Health Department;

·         The site’s ownership could be confirmed following the meeting;

·         The ratio used for calculating the parking was based on the emerging local plan recommended standards.  0.5 spaces per room was the proposed recommended standard for a town centre location and although the site was not within the Widnes Town Centre boundary, it was in a local centre with good links to public transport and access to local amenities;

·         The suggestion of splitting the building into 3 HMO’s was not material to the application – it had to be determined on what was presented in the report.


One Member moved a proposal to defer the application so that the Committee as a whole could visit the site.  This proposal was seconded and the Committee agreed that the application be deferred to a future meeting.


RESOLVED: That the application be deferred to a future meeting, to allow the Committee to make a site visit.



Supporting documents: