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Plans for 12-bedroom shared house in Denton knocked back
Tuesday 22nd January 2019 @ 11:46 by Tom Greggan
Denton & Audenshaw News Tameside

Plans to convert a historic Georgian building into a shared house have been refused after a police boss and politicians voiced concerns about crime and anti-social behaviour.

The 19th century townhouse on Stockport Road in Denton has been empty for more than 20 years and has fallen into a bad state of disrepair.

Planning officers at Tameside council had recommended that proposals to turn it into a 12-bed house of multiple occupation (HMO) be approved to restore it and get it back into use.

However Tameside’s Police Superintendent, Denton MP Andrew Gwynne and ward councillor Allison Gwynne had opposed the plans.

The police submission raised concerns that Tameside had seen an increase in HMOs being used by immigration management companies, with one on Fairfield Avenue in Droylsden and another on Manchester Road in Dane Bank.

“These types of properties do tend to increase demand on policing resources and on the resources of other agencies as the residents tend to have complex needs and seemingly very poor support networks,” the superintendent’s report states.

“I would also hold objection to the property being allocated as a residential care home or bail hostel as Denton currently houses three local authority care homes and a number of bail addresses all of which result in additional demand on the local policing team.”

Denton ward councillor Allison Gwynne told the committee she had ‘grave concerns’ about the development of a shared house in that location.

Each of the bedrooms would have had an en-suite bathroom, and communal kitchens and a lounge were planned on the ground and first floors.

However it had been thought that just three car parking spaces would be enough for 12 people living in the property.

Presenting the application, the council’s planning officer said: “The town centre is a highly sustainable location which justifies the reduction in parking spaces.

“It successfully lends itself to conversion in a manner which respects the integrity of the heritage asset.

“The proposals would provide affordable accommodation in an otherwise vacant and underutilised heritage asset.”

He added: “Residents would need to be in employment and subject to robust reference checks.”

However Denton ward councillor Allison Gwynne told the committee she had ‘grave concerns’ about the development of a shared house in that location.

“The police have given a very rare objection on anti-social behaviour grounds to this application, they very rarely submit any kind of commentary on an application,” she said.

“There is no safeguarding of the local community; I would ask that you respect this listed building and the residents around it.”

The police submission raised concerns that Tameside had seen an increase in HMOs being used by immigration management companies

In a statement read out at the meeting, Andrew Gywnne MP said he had severe concerns on the impact on the local area of an HMO of that size.

“The property in question is a prominent listed building in the centre of Denton that forms part of a unique collection of Georgian town houses and should be preserved,” his objection stated.

“I am concerned about the high levels of anti social behaviour and criminality in Denton and I fear that an HMO in the town centre could become a further magnet for anti-social behaviour.

“There are no parking facilities in an already congested town centre.”

Agent for the applicant Kirsty Biden told councillors the building had a ‘troubled history’ and was in a state of structural disrepair, which they aimed to reverse, and possible tenants were carefully selected.

“Infinity Property Investment is committed to developing high quality, practical and affordable accommodation,” she said.

“This proposal fully supports the national planning policy objectives of providing a variety of quality residential accommodation in highly sustainable locations and demonstrates an efficient use for a currently vacant property in desperate need of regeneration.”

Stalybridge South ward Coun Doreen Dickinson said: “I do get quite worried when police put in an objection like this one.

“Stalybridge has an HMO that is the bane of Stalybridge life. 

“Young, professional and employed people will need more than three car parking spaces.”

Denton North East ward Coun Vincent Ricci added: “As a local councillor in the area it does have a problem with anti-social behaviour.

“Only last week we had a bin brought onto the greens of the bowling green that was set alight.

“We’ve got youths running across the shops in the centre of Denton – it’s not going to make it any better.”

A majority of councillors voted to go against officers’ advice and reject the plans, citing over-development and a lack of parking space.