Council refuses to approve flats plan

Flats which have been illegally converted above Godwins newsagents on the High Street in Horbruy.
Flats which have been illegally converted above Godwins newsagents on the High Street in Horbruy.

TENANTS could be evicted from controversial flats used to house recently-released prisoners after a council ruling.

Wakefield Council has refused to approve a retrospective planning application by DVR Properties to convert two flats into 10, above a newsagents on High Street, Horbury.

Unless the company can win an appeal they will be forced to remove all the internal building work and return the flats to their original condition.

A report prepared by the planning department said that the flats were out of character with neighbouring properties, harmful to the amenity of the area and would result in over-development.

It also criticised the lack of parking space and raised concerns about problems with road safety.

Other justifications for refusing the application were a lack of windows in the flats and an overall poor standard of housing.

Insp Sally Fryer, head of the North West neighbourhood police team (NPT) sent in objections to the plans after being inundated with complaints from people living near by.

They complained about a rise in anti-social behaviour since the flats were converted.

Councillors and residents also objected to the application, which was submitted to the planning department months after the work had been completed.

Coun Graham Jesty said: “There is a planning process which people have to follow – putting in a retrospective application after you have done the work isn’t good enough or justification for it to be approved.

“The fact is local residents, the police, the council’s own highways department all objected and so did I.”

The applicant, DVR Properties, based on Kirkgate, Wakefield, said an application was not submitted prior to work being started because of conflicting advice.

In a letter sent to the council as part of the application the company stated that the flats are aimed at single people who rely on housing benefit.

They argued that there was a need for this type of accommodation in the town.

The Express tried to contact DVR Properties several times but no-one was available for comment.