Out-of-town developers put in bid to create 13-room HMO in Rugby
and live on Freeview channel 276
The plan from Milton Keynes-based Investment Street Ltd is to convert 62 and 62A Lawford Road and with various extensions, create the new-look property from what currently sits on the corner of Lawford Road and Round Street.
The application was submitted to Rugby Borough Council on July 25. It shows the 13 single bedrooms would each have an en suite bathroom and there would be two shared kitchen and dining facilities, plus the cycle store that seems critical to every town centre application these days.
There have been growing concerns about the number of HMOs in the town – as previously reported by the Advertiser, opponents believe the borough council’s failure to have an effective policy in place to control their number has meant the applications have been virtually unstoppable.
While much of the concern has been about where family homes in narrow terraced streets have been converted, adding to the number of residents and – cycle racks notwithstanding – the traffic they generate, the issue remains about the overall number of those operating in the town.
The role of HMOs as part of Rugby’s property mix is widely supported but some of the critics say, essentially, you can have too much of a good thing.
As a main road, Lawford Road is a different prospect to some of the streets known to have seen a rash of conversions but the scale of it will prompt the concern that 13 bedrooms are too many.
The design and access statement put forward as part of the application – reference number R23/0794 on the borough council’s planning portal – addresses the likely response.
It says, ‘It is the aim of the applicant to provide a very high standard of accommodation. The rooms are all of a great size and the management policy will ensure single person occupancy.
‘There is an unfounded stigma associated with HMOs. This single occupancy accommodation is very much needed in Rugby, especially during the current economic crisis, when due to escalating interest rates and rental costs it is impossible for a large proportion of the population to get on the property ladder.
‘This type of accommodation is not state funded, so always occupied by working people, who are normally trying to save to be able to get onto the property ladder.’
It also adds that the management company will control any anti-social behaviour and noise around the courtyard at the back where the bin store will be: ‘This is a stigma again associated with this type of dwelling. Due to the fact that most of the occupants will be at work during the day and the communal area will not be occupied most of the time, the chances of their being any more noise that an average family is very limited.’
The developers claim they do not expect every occupant to have a car but as part of a parking permit area, they expect three permits to be applied for.
They also point out a previous application for four flats and a bedsit on the same site was approved last year.