Developer loses fight over ‘unacceptably harmful’ plan to turn former fish shop into HMO

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A developer has lost his appeal after controversial plans to turn a former fish shop into a house share for 14 people were turned down.

A report described the scheme to convert the former takeaway into Wakefield into a ten-bed property as “unacceptably harmful”.

Councillors rejected the proposals to turn the Avondale Fisheries building, in Thornes, into a house of multiple occupancy (HMO) at a meeting last year.

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More than 200 residents objected to the scheme, saying the area was already overcrowded with a shortage of parking spaces.

Residents began a campaign to stop the scheme in August 2022.Residents began a campaign to stop the scheme in August 2022.
Residents began a campaign to stop the scheme in August 2022.

Developer Ryan Beaumont appealed to the Planning Inspectorate.

The appeal was dismissed after an inspector carried out a site visit in October.

A report, published on November 28, says the development would create a “substantial and harmful change” in respect of noise and disturbance for residents of a neighbouring house.

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The report also said the lack of outdoor space for future residents would have an “unacceptably harmful effect” on living conditions.

The inspector said: “Future occupants would not be provided with the quantity or quality of private outdoor amenity space which they could reasonably expect to enjoy.”

Mr Beaumont originally wanted to house 17 people in the building.

He later amended the plan to build ten flats for 14 people.

Wakefield Council officers recommended the application for approval despite continued protests.

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Mr Beaumont told the council’s planning committee, in December last year, that the flats were intended for young professionals..

He said future tenants were unlikely to be car owners who would instead rely on public transport.

Mr Beaumont said he owned similar properties in Leeds and Gateshead which have proved successful.

The application was unanimously rejected, with councillor Hilary Mitchell describing the scheme as an “abomination.”

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Follow Wakefield West ward councillor Michael Graham said residents would be “living like battery chickens”.

Reacting to the appeal decision, Coun Graham said: “I think it’s a great day for democracy.

“Councillors rejected this application and it is very pleasing to have the Inspectorate back up our belief that this huge HMO is totally unsuitable for this quiet street.

“It is absolutely absurd to have ten bedrooms in a property of this size.

“Chickens in a battery farm would have more space.

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People who have lived on this street for over 30 years don’t deserve to be driven out of the community by greedy developers.

“Yet again, we are seeing another example of putting profit before people.

“This application was even recommended for approval by the planning department.

“So it just shows how important it is to have string councillors representing you on Wakefield Council.”