Residents lodge petition for right to object over development

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Residents in a Bury St Edmunds cul-de-sac are demanding a council allow them to formally object to plans to transform a house into one of multiple occupation.

About 40 households in Starre Road have signed a petition calling for St Edmundsbury Borough Council to let them formally log their concerns about the move.

The house is being converted by a developer to provide six rooms for young professionals and does not need planning permission following changes to Government legislation.

However, local authorities have power to stop such developments - known as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), which is defined as being occupied by upto six people who are unrelated.

Resident John Bosley, who organised the petition, said he is concerned about parking issues and that the development ‘does not suite the historic character of the area, which is owner occupied’.

The 54-year-old, who has lived in Starre Road for 11 years, said: “We’re really disappointed with the local authority. They’re refusing to do anything.

“There are special provisions where the local authority can use powers to require a planning application which would give us the opportunity to formally object to it.

“There’s definitely a need for this type of housing but it’s got to be in the right place.”

The developer of the project Keith Farrance stressed that it will create ‘high quality accommodation’ aimed at young professionals. He is a franchise partner with property investment franchise Platinum Property Partners, which helps people to build residential property portfolios.

Alison Broderick, in house planning consultant for platinum property partners, explained that they teach people property development focusing on ‘high class HMOs for young professionals’.

She said they are in favour of the changes in legislation regarding HMOs as ‘there is a chronic housing shortage in the UK’.

She said: “We’re meeting this need in a high quality and affordable manner.”

A spokeswoman for St Edmundsbury Council confirmed that under Government legislation, designed to help the housing market and provide more homes for people, it is a permitted development.

She clarified that local authorities have been given the power, known as Article Four directions, to stop houses 
becoming HMOs ‘if so many are being converted that it 
threatens the character of an area’.

She said: “The nearest HMO to this one in Starre Road is half a mile away and there are only 32 in the whole of Bury so we take the view that there is no justification for using Article Four directions to preserve this area’s charcter. There is also a significant shortage of shared accomodation for single people.

“Around half of those on our waiting list, about 1,000 people, are looking for single people’s accommodation.”