Erdington is getting yet another HMO after planning permission was granted to turn a former care home on Chester Road into a 14-bed dwelling.
The decision came last week after statements that there are no other HMOs within a 100-metre radius and that the building is not in use as a family home.
The application was discussed in April 2022 but got pushed back as councillors felt they needed more information.
Why is this an issue?
HMOs are a contentious issue in Birmingham and particularly in Erdington as family homes are increasingly being split into multiple occupancy houses, but this application was approved as there is ‘no evidence’ the premises was ever used as a family dwelling.
The dwelling on Chester Road has had mixed uses over the years.
In 1959 it was used as a hostel for discharged mental hospital patients, then subsequently became a care home. A report from the applicant states that the property’s use as a care home ceased ‘some years ago’, and has laid largely vacant since 2012.
What changes will be made to the building?
A Birmingham City Council planning officer said upgrades to sanitary facilities in the building will need to take place, but once finished, the building will include 14 bedrooms, two lounges and two kitchens. Four car parking spaces are also available on-site.
Cllr Gareth Moore disputed the applicant’s claims that the building was vacant and said that when the building was sold it was split into three, with two of the buildings being used as family homes. He said: “I’m not entirely convinced that this was an empty care home; I’m very much of the view that it is a residential home.”
But members were assured that the building has not been in use since 2012 and has not paid any community tax during that time.
What have local residents said about the plans?
The plans have been met with some hostility from local residents. Representative for Erdington Cllr Robert Alden submitted a petition which included concerns about insufficient parking and a lack of large family housing in Erdington.
One resident was concerned that the proposal would increase ‘crime, anti-social behaviour, and drug use’ in the area. Another said that Chester Road is traditionally a family neighbourhood and a HMO would ‘not be in keeping’ with the local area.
However, the application was overwhelmingly approved by councillors.
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