PLANS to alter a property making it suitable for multiple occupancy have been refused for fear it is a “money-making scheme” that could contribute to an area becoming “bedsit land”.

Buckinghamshire Council threw out a planning application for changes to a four-bed semi-detached property on Deeds Grove, in High Wycombe, claiming the applicant was ‘in it for the cash’.

Mr Sarfraz Hussain saw his request to build a single-storey side and rear extension scrapped during a West Buckinghamshire Area Planning Committee, on Tuesday, November 10.

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His intention was to create a six-bedroom house of multiple occupation (HMO), with three new parking spaces. The result would have been two additional bedrooms and an extension of the lounge and kitchen.

But by close of business committee members voted in their majority to refuse the alterations, with one councillor fearing such designs could cause the area to become a “slum”.

Bucks Free Press:

Technically, however, change of use to a six-bed HMO is considered “permitted development”, not requiring planning permission.

“They would be entitled to change this property to a small-scale HMO without any control by us, tomorrow,” said the council officer.

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Cllrs Alan Hill and Lesley Clarke each expressed concerns about local parking. The Highways Authority however raised no objections.

Cllr Ray Farmer said: “I just feel it’s someone trying to make a fast buck out of a normal family home.”

Bucks Free Press:

Cllr Gary Hall expressed concerns about certain areas of the county being turned into “bedsit land”, adding: “It’s the same situation here.

“That road isn’t designed…for this many cars and it certainly wasn’t designed to turn nice family houses into bedsits and money-making schemes.

“It’s blatantly…a money-making opportunity and it’s to the detriment of the other residents.

“It’s not fair on people so I’m not going to support it.”

Cllr Paul Turner echoed Cllr Hall, adding: “One way or another this has got to stop…I think local members need to start thinking about how they can put a blanket embargo on any further alterations to family homes.

“We all know what happens on the ground: there are areas that just become almost slum areas.

“You just walk round the rubbish and the overflowing bins, there’s a transient population so they don’t care about the properties, and the landlords don’t care either. And once we lose control…we can’t get it back.

“We have to make our voices heard – even if we ultimately cannot refuse this.”

Cllr Julia Langley said the application was a “real travesty”.

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