High Street HMO decision to be reviewed by inspectors

A decision to block a move to build a bigger HMO in Bearwood High Street will be reviewed by the government’s planning inspectors.

Sandwell Council rejected an application to build a three-storey extension above and behind Six One Six Hair and Beauty in Bearwood Road last year – saying the “inappropriate” proposals would be “overbearing” and “unattractive.”

But the decision will now be reviewed by the government’s planning inspectorate – which has the power to overrule Sandwell Council – after an appeal was launched.

The three-storey extension would have seen an extra four bedrooms built – increasing the total number of rooms to 12. Several planning applications for the building have come forward since 2018 with initial plans to convert the upper floors of 616 Bearwood Road into a four-bed HMO controversially rejected by councillors in 2018.

The decision was reached by Sandwell Council’s planning committee against the advice of the council’s own planning officers who had recommended the applications should be approved.

The planning inspector said the reasons given by councillors when rejecting the application were 'extremely limited' and 'lacked detail'. The inspector Beverley Wilders concluded the council had acted “unreasonably” – and had led to “unnecessary expense” – when making the decision and ordered the authority to pay full costs to Green Room Properties.

The application was rejected alongside 11 others which all included converting the upper floors of a row of buildings in Bearwood High Street into houses of multiple occupation. The move ended up costing Sandwell Council more than £45,000 after London-based developer Green Room Properties won an appeal with the government’s planning inspectors and was awarded full costs.

Sandwell Council went on to approve further plans for a single-storey and then two-storey extension to make space for two extra rooms in 2020 and 2022. In between, the council also re-approved the original 2018 plans to convert the upper floors into an HMO after the three-year planning permission lapsed. 

However, the council’s planners drew the line at building a three-storey extension and rejected that application when it appeared only a few months later – a decision that has led to the latest appeal to planning inspectors.


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