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Fears 30 people may cram into one home in overcrowded neighbourhood

Written by on 25/09/2020

Councillors say a Sheffield neighbourhood is becoming “oversaturated” with bedsits which are changing their community and leaving families without homes.

Several councillors complained after developers submitted plans to change a large, four bedroomed semi-detached house on Rock Street in Burngreave into a seven-bed property.

Burngreave councillors Jackie Drayton, Talib Hussain and Mark Jones, plus 26 residents, objected to yet another multi-occupancy house, known as HMOs.

The street already has two HMOs within 200m and another 16 within 500m.

Coun Jackie Drayton said they were having a major impact on the area. “Large family homes in Burngreave are systematically being turned into various HMOs, including many hostels for vulnerable people.

“A few years ago planning officers were reviewing guidance on HMOs, including hostels and student accommodation, across the city.

“Three wards were highlighted as having too many, to such a degree they were changing the nature of those communities.

“Burngreave was one of those areas along with Broomhill and Crookes. If a similar review was carried out now it would find that the situation is even worse, with more HMOs.

“There is over saturation in this area which is affecting the community and the impact on local services.”

Coun Mark Jones fears seven bedrooms could lead to up to 30 occupants. “Burngreave is a family friendly ward and there is great demand for family housing in the area.

“Housing is in short demand and turning yet another family house into a HMO will only make matters worse.

“Bunrgreave ward has suffered significant blight from the proliferation of HMOs. Some have attracted significant issues of anti-social behaviour.

“Burngreave has suffered significant issues from ill-conceived property developments that have sought to gain maximum personal profit for the developer whilst giving all too little back to the community.”

Coun Talib Hussain said more family homes in Burngreave ward were needed.

“Burngreave has 16 HMO properties 500 metres away from the site. Another one will reduce the quality of life and Burngreave ward has a life expectancy 10 years less than south west of the city.

“Rock Street itself already has two HMO within 200 metres of this, which would make it over concentrated.

“It will increase fly tipping and general littering on street which is already an issue from the large number of private rental houses in the area that are overcrowded.”

A house can be converted into a six bedroomed HMO without planning permission.

Andy Pickup, on behalf of developers, told the planning committee: “This will be high end accommodation and there is a large demand for this type of low cost, modern property.

“We are only applying for one extra bedroom and don’t feel overcrowding will be an issue. A family home could have more cars than this.

“My client has other properties and uses a reputable lettings agent, any noise and antisocial behaviour will not be tolerated. Soundproofing will be incorporated.”

Coun Peter Price said it was “over optimistic” to expect only seven people to live in the house.

“I know Burngreave very well and I understand how much multi-occupancy takes place illegally anyway.

“I’m very worried about Burngreave and the problems thrown up and this simply adds to them.

“Cars park all down the road and no thought has been given to these issues.

“It would be a bad mistake for this to be increased to seven bedrooms because I know what happens to other properties, we are constantly chasing them.”

Officers told councillors they were restricted under planning law and any concerns would need to be dealt with by licensing.

All councillors who supported the plans said they did so “very reluctantly. Councillors Peter Price, Adam Hirst, Peter Garbutt and Zahira Naz voted against.