12-bed HMO plan for disused elderly care home is thrown out

Plans to turn a derelict care home for the elderly on a key gateway into Walsall into a 12-bed HMO have been thrown out. A proposal had been put forward to convert the former Gables Rest Home on Lichfield Street near the town centre, which has been empty for some time.

But Walsall Council planning officers refused with one of the reasons being the property fell within the 15km zone of the Cannock Chase Special Area Of Conservation for which the applicants had not provided any mitigation for. Legislation requires every potential development falling within the zone to assess the impact it might have on the beauty spot. Part of the deal requires developers to pay £290.58 per new dwelling to go towards the upkeep.

Planners also said the applicants had failed to demonstrate the future residents would have satisfactory habitable rooms while they had also failed to provide a premises management plan. If it had been approved, the HMO would have featured a total of 12 bedrooms across the two floors along with bathrooms, kitchens and other facilities.

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The building is listed in the Arboretum Conservation Area but a heritage assessment report concluded the redevelopment would not have a negative impact on its surroundings. Agents Anjum Design said: "The property has been previously used as a residential care home for old persons providing accommodation to 12 residents and currently being vacant for last few years.

"Proposed works includes minimal internal alterations to the property to facilitate the HMO conversion. There are no external alterations as part of the proposals and therefore in respect of this there will be no harm on the visual amenity of the locality and will not result in a detrimental impact on the occupier of the adjacent dwellings.

"The proposal will provide adequate off road bin storage for proposed residents of the property, therefore there will be no impact on the residential amenity. Given the location, accessibility to public transport, provision for parking for one vehicle on site, and the proposed provision for safe and secure cycle parking (including for visitors), there will be no impact on highway safety."