Plan to green light HMO development sparks furious backlash in Clitheroe

Residents have raised concerns over plans to transform a property's ground-floor business space into a multiple occupancy home with eight bedrooms.

Worries including over-development, the impact on existing neighbours, traffic and a lack of space and daylight for people in the proposed new home at Bawdlands have been raised with Ribble Valley Council

A planning application for permission to turn 27 -29 Bawdlands into a home of multiple occupancy (HMO) has been submitted by Mark Byrne of Boutique Homes Ltd, based at Park Farm View, Barrow, to the borough council. He is working with Clitheroe-based agent Paul Derbyshire of PD Construction Consultants.

Ribble Valley councillors are being recommended to approve the plan, according to a report for the planning committee. But it has prompted objections by some people in Clitheroe. In one email to Ribble Valley Council, an objector claims: "I'm writing to object about another multiple occupation residency on Bawdlands that seem to attract a certain type of person. The landlords do not keep properties in good repair and do not care about the surrounding area."

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Another has written: "I object in strongest terms. My understanding is that the most recent occupiers of the property had one vehicle. The proposed development may well have eight vehicles vying with other residents for parking space. If it goes ahead the parking issues will only be exacerbated. And, let's be honest, it's going to be a hostel in all but name that will undoubtedly impact unfavourably on the community."

Another person has raised traffic problems and the loss of business space. They have written: "Corporation street is notorious as a rat-run for traffic between Bawdlands and Thorn Street and Eshton Terrace. The street already suffers a massive amount of traffic, making it very dangerous for young people,and people with mobility issues."

It adds: "The area around Bawdlands and Henthorn has already seen a significant growth in residential properties and the loss of business-use properties. Business buildings have seen a significant amount of change of use to flats and or single dwellings."

However, a planning statement by Paul Derbyshire supports the application. It says the property is a disused commercial building at the corner of Bawdlands and Corporation Street

Mr Derbyshire has written: "The proposed works are to convert the vacant commercial unit and private flat into eight self contained en-suite rooms, to bring the empty building back into full use. Rooms are designed as double rooms but it is envisaged that all will be single occupancy."

"The proposed refurbishment will have minimal impact on the original fabric of the building. The external appearance will remain relatively unchanged, bar the addition of windows at ground floor level of no.27 to match those of no. 29.

"A more sympathetic, neutral colour scheme and suitably designed windows reflect the location of the building, and the adjoining domestic properties on Bawdlands. The proposed works bring the currently empty building back into use and enhance the street scene and neighbouring community, with minimal impact on visual or residential amenity."