HMO plan for former town centre dancehall fails to hit the right notes

Plans to convert a disused dancehall and nightclub in Walsall town centre into a HMO have been thrown out. Applicants Simviraj Ltd wanted to transform The Lost Lounge, which is based on the first floor of the historic Victorian Arcade shopping centre into nine separate apartments.

But Walsall Council planning officers rejected the proposal, citing a number of reasons including fears the development would provide a "cramped, low quality and undesirable living environment" for future residents. They also said the applicants had failed to insufficient information on the potential impact it would have on the listed building.

Other concerns included a failure to provide accessible cycle parking, insufficient information on how it would integrate with existing businesses and a lack of a management plan on how the HMO would be maintained. When it was open, the club hosted a range of different nights for fans of a variety of music genres including Two Tone, reggae, punk, Motown and Northern Soul.

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But, in the application, representatives for the developer said the premises have been empty since May last year and was in a poor state of repair. They added the new HMO would enable people to live in Walsall town centre and provide a boost for the area.

Agents BEJJ Limited said: "The property is a listed building which is being used in general as a commercial property with some residential housing. The first floor overlooks shop frontages inside Victoria Arcade on the west side and Lower Hall Lane on the east.

"The floor consists of a dance floor, toilets, kitchen facilities and storage. (It) is currently empty and in poor state of repair. This planning application is for a change of use from the current commercial status to a nine dwellings HMO.

"The new rooms and facilities on the first floor are to be built and soft furnishings, and other facilities added for the use of the tenants. The clients confirms that they have not undertaken any building works as the current room layout is as when the property was purchased by the clients.

"The change of use will enable tenants to reside in Walsall town centre and make use of the amenities in the town, which is good for local area, business, and the environment, due to less journey’s required to access the services in

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