'Unsustainable' Wigan flats plan refused by council

A bid to add extra flats to a property in Swinley has been rejected by the council because they could have created an “unsustainable community”.

Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 8:35 am
Updated Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 8:36 am

Plans had been submitted to the town hall which, if approved, would have resulted in an additional two flats being built into No.4 Springfield Street, a mid-terraced property which has already been converted into two homes.

The address would have accommodated a new flat in its basement and another in its loft, but a planning committee has rejected the application, citing below-par living quality of anyone moving into the new flats, and the potential for the neighbourhood to become “an unsustainable community” as a result of the development.

A planning officer’s report said: “In this case, the site is located within the Swinley area Article 4 direction which has removed permitted development rights for changes of use from individual dwelling houses to small houses in multiple occupation (HMO ). Although the proposal is not for a HMO some weight should be given to its location within this area which already has a higher proportion of HMOs compared to other areas within the Borough.

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The property in Springfield Street

“The number of HMOs within the area has resulted in a material change in the character of Swinley as a residential area, and an indication that Swinley is at some risk of becoming an unsustainable community with a high proportion of transient residents.

“It is clear that the units proposed are not HMO style units as they are served by private kitchens and bathrooms, however the loft unit is particularly compact in size and the number of apartments created would result in an over concentration of units in the building which would have a similar impact on the character as a HMO would, especially if the neighbouring residents were also converted in a similar way.

“In this case it is felt that due to the number of units that would be created within a comparatively small area this has the potential to bring about a change in the character of that area, and the residential mix within it, to an extent sufficient to be material in planning terms and contrary to Policy CP6 of the Wigan Local Plan Core Strategy.”

The report went on: “Whilst the development will allow for the creation of addition units within a residential area, the proposal will intensity the use of the building and result in a further change to the character of the area. The development provides inadequate levels of amenity for potential tenants, including inadequate amenity space and refuse and recycling provision and will lead to unacceptable impacts on the amenity of the existing residents.

“In combination with other similar developments already implemented in the Swinley area the proposed use will lead to a material change in the character of the residential and will, in officers’ assessment, decrease the sustainability and resilience of this area.”

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