Another shared house has been given the green light in Droylsden, despite residents’ fears that the area is fast becoming a hotspot for ‘open drug dealing and serious crime’.
Members of Tameside’s planning committee were told that there had been ‘murder’ associated with the proliferation of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) in the Fairfield area.
They were ruling on plans to allow another five-bedroom shared house to be created at a three-storey building on Station View, which had previously housed a shop and offices.
The applicant insisted £70,000 was being invested and it was not money they were ‘spending lightly’, adding that they were targeting young professionals who would pay a minimum of £500 a month for the rooms.
But the town hall had received 19 objections to the proposal, and Angela Rayner MP had also written to raise residents’ concerns over the numbers of such homes being approved.
Ms Rayner’s submission to the council stated there were indications it was having a ‘detrimental effect’ on local services, ‘particularly in relation to the piling of rubbish outside of properties’.
Objector John Garvey told the committee there were ‘far too many’ HMOs in the area, and it was ‘disproportionate’ for the size of the community.
“We’ve had serious crime, including murder, associated with the HMOs,” he said.
“Most of the residents at the HMOs are asylum seekers, bail hostel residents and addicts and what not, very few of which have adequate support on entering.
“Inevitably that leads to a source for local criminals, and we have open drug dealing on the street which is intolerable.”
He added: “We understand that the housing needs of asylum seekers and others need to be taken into account, but it needs to spread and shared equally rather than being concentrated in a hotspot area.”
Residents had tried to speak to the different managers of the HMOs to resolve issues but struggled to make contact with national companies who placed people in the buildings, Mr Garvey said.
Droylsden East ward Councillor David Mills added: “We’ve been trying to get through to somebody to organise a cross party meeting, and we’ve had absolutely nothing.”
Applicant George Samoila, speaking for the plan, said the conversion of the building would cost in the region of £70,000 and was not money they were ‘spending lightly’.
They were targeting young professionals aged between 25-35, who would pay a minimum of £500 a month for the rooms.
“I am aware there have been some objections from the wider community and the local MP, but I consider most of these to be based on false information,” he told the meeting.
“It’s a different type of tenant and we are trying to reinvigorate the area and bring new youth and the right type of youth.
“We have an HMO specific managing agent that only deals with this property and this type of tenants.”
They would have bi-weekly visits to the property, and tenants must have guarantors.
“If anything goes wrong, let’s say for example one of the tenants is making too much noise or they are engaging in drug use, then they are given a caution and if that goes on they are asked to leave,” Mr Samoila added.
Under law, they would not be able to have double occupancy in the rooms, despite having double beds.
Stalybridge South Coun Doreen Dickinson said: “HMOs in my opinion are only as good as they are managed, and in my experience, there is not a lot managed well.”
But the application was approved with nine councillors voting in favour, and just Coun Dickinson voting against.
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