A controversial housing plan for a vacant Rushden factory has been blasted as a ‘hovel’ and refused by a council.
Councillors on East Northants planning committee threw out the plan last night (Jan 9) to convert the empty industrial building at 42 Victoria Road into an 11-bedroom house of multiple occupancy (HMO).
The scheme, which had been refused three times in the past three years, was slammed by a number of councillors including Cllr Dudley Hughes who said the accommodation was worse than that given to prisoners.
He said: “Once again we have an application that is not wanted by the place it is proposed for and it is an insult to the people who are going to live in it.
“It just not on. How can we in the 21st century approve places that are worse than a prison cell. I cannot conceive why such a poor application can be considered."
Cllr Gill Mercer said that on a site visit the property looked like a ‘hovel’.
The plan put forward by applicant Mr Watts was to create 11 en-suite bedrooms. It was proposed to have five bedrooms on the ground floor with a shared kitchen and a common room and six bedrooms and a kitchen area on the first floor. There were no parking spaces for the scheme.
Residents went against planning officers’ recommendations to approve the application.
Cllr Richard Lewis, who represents the ward area, said Rushden town centre has 840 flats which made up 67 per cent of the housing.
“It is a very sad state of affairs”, he said.
Victoria Road resident Bob Perkins told the meeting: “This application keeps raising its ugly head. What has not changed is the core of the application. It is proposing sub-standard accommodation unwanted by residents.”
Agent Paul Smith, who spoke on behalf of the application, said the factory building had been vacant for many years and was falling into a state of disrepair. He also said that the accommodation met the Conservative-run authority’s space requirements.
The plan was refused on the grounds of not enough amenities, lack of parking provision and not enough housing mix.