- Posted by: Valerie Vaz MP
- Category: News
Residents had been given just a week’s notice that plans submitted in 2020 for a 37-bedroom HMO on Slaney Road will be decided on Thursday 10 February at the Planning Committee. On 8 February 2022 I wrote to the Chief Executive of Walsall Council and the Planning Services Department to object on behalf of my constituents. Details of the application can be found on the Walsall Council Planning website: Application Number 20/0550.
This is the second attempt by developers to push through the plans, which were withdrawn first-time around after I on behalf of the residents and a further 31 residents wrote to the Council to object in 2019. A petition opposing the plans gathered 85 signatures.
The Council’s Planning Officers’ report said that the second application has again ‘failed to address issues raised’ regarding the ‘impact on amenities, fear of crime/anti-social behaviour and the potential parking issues of the scheme’, and ‘would have a materially harmful effect on the fear of crime’ in the area. West Midlands Police have formally objected to it going ahead. The Officers have recommended that the project is refused.
The Council must refuse the plans and I am pleased that there was a unanimous refusal by the Committee. The text of my letter is set out below.
8 February 2022
Re: 42 Slaney Road: Application Numbers: 18/0941, 20/0550
I note that the above planning application is to be heard by the Planning Committee on 10 February 2022. The application to convert the former nursing home on 42 Slaney Road into a HMO was submitted in May 2020 with the same application number 20/0550. A similar application was made in 2018 with the Application Number 18/0941, and subsequently withdrawn.
I am writing on behalf of my constituents to register objections to the proposals. In July 2020 it was unclear when the application would come before the Planning Committee, and I asked that whenever this occurred my letter was drawn to the Committee’s attention. However, my letter has not been referred to in the Planning Officers’ Report (The Report) prepared for the Committee’s meeting on 10 February 2022 and my constituents have only had 7 days’ notice.
The proposals have not changed, and the objections remain the same. Therefore I am enclosing my letters dated 13 December 2018 and 22 July 2020, which set out my objections.
The Report recommends refusal of the application, and concurs with several of the issues I raised. It states that the Applicant:
‘has failed to address issues raised and the Local Planning Authority questions the validity of the information presented, impacts on amenities, fear of crime/anti-social behaviour and the potential parking issues of the scheme.’
The Applicant is listed as a resident of Aston, Birmingham, and may not be familiar with the character of the area. The residents informed me and it was reported in the Press that a cannabis farm was found at Slaney Road by Police last year. It is unacceptable that this should have taken place in a quiet residential area.
Moreover the list of licensed HMOs available on the Council’s website appears to only include licences issued up to 2010. A HMO at 27-31 Bescot Road, the former Abberley Hotel nearby which was approved in 2016 also does not appear on the list. There may be others.
I would be grateful if you could provide an update of the register since 2010, in accordance with the Council’s duty to provide a public register under the Housing Act 2004.
The application should be refused for the following reasons:
- the intensification and size of the proposal would have an adverse impact on the character of the area;
- the application would have a materially harmful effect on the fear of crime in the locality;
- the applicant has failed to demonstrate that the level of parking provided is sufficient to meet its own needs, and that there will be no adverse effect on highway safety and the environment; and
- there are currently HMOs at 21 and 23 Slaney Road, and residents have said there are HMOs at 19 and 24. This is a material consideration.
Therefore no reasonable Planning Committee could come to any other conclusion than to accept the Report’s recommendation to refuse the application.
Rt Hon Valerie Vaz MP