Plans to convert former Hartlepool shop to house up to six people approved despite crime concerns from police

Site of the former shop in Hartlepool.
Site of the former shop in Hartlepool.

Plans for a new house of multiple occupation (HMO) at a former shop have been given the go-ahead despite concerns from police over crime in the area.

Proposals had been submitted to Hartlepool Borough Council to convert the former York Road Furniture Centre into a three-bedroom HMO.

HMOs refer to properties such as a house split into seperate bedsits, a shared house/flat or a hostel.

Each proposed bedroom will comprise of two beds providing a property for a maximum of six residents.

The application, from Jomast Developments Ltd, also states the ground floor site will have a communal lounge/kitchen area, a bathroom, a WC compartment and a shower room.

Council planning bosses have now given the proposals the go-ahead stating the development is considered to be acceptable in terms of planning policy.

However a statement from Cleveland Police said York Road suffers from high rates of crime and warned of the impact such properties could have on an area.

But police did not object to the plans and recommended safety precautions to be put in place.

It said: “York Road is located in an area that suffers higher than average rates of crime and disorder.

“Alongside this, these type of premise often experience increased incidents of crime and disorder and can have an adverse impact on the local community, this is often linked to the nature of the tenants that reside at the premises.

“To reduce these risks I would expect the applicant to ensure the premises are well managed with careful selection of tenants to reside at the premise.”

Other safety recommendations included secure mail delivery facilities, robust gates to the rear, security lights and secure bin storage.

The plans include a number of external alterations to replace the existing shop front and provide windows and an entrance door to the HMO.

The site is in a predominantly residential area on the corner of York Road and Lowthian Road and the first and second floors of the building are used as a maisonette.

A design statement on behalf of Jomast Developments Ltd said the plans would look to bring into use a currently vacant site.

It said: “The intention is to bring the unoccupied ground floor area into use as a residential (HMO) property.

“The intention is to retain some of its existing features, whilst addressing elements of those elevations, to better reflect the established façade appearances along the York Road and Lowthian Road street scenes.

“A gate to the York Road elevation railing will provide defined and dedicated access to the new primary access door to the property.”

The application was publicised to residents in the area and consultations were held and no objections were received.

Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service