Petition launched to stop family homes being converted into bedsits in Stevenage
- Credit: Archant
Landlords converting family homes into bedsits are destroying Stevenage’s community, according to many people in the town.
And now a petition has been launched to try to stop the rise in the number of houses in multiple occupancy.
Mike McCrow lives next door to a house in Burns Close bought up after its owner died earlier this year and in the process of being turned into bedsits.
He said: “I do not want to see the community destroyed.
“We looked after the lady next door before she died because we are all part of a community.
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“The people going into that house aren’t going to do that. They are most likely going to be professional people who come for a couple of years and leave. They’re not going to contribute to the area.”
In 2010 a law was passed which means that landlords do not need planning permission to turn a house with up to six occupants who share at least one facility into bedsits.
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This can be overruled by an Article 4 Direction, which means houses in an area must be used as family homes.
Mike, 72, and others have submitted a petition to Stevenage Borough Council calling on it to make a direction because without one it is powerless to stop houses being converted.
He said: “One could just spring up next door to you and you wouldn’t know anything about it until the street was full of cars.”
He explained another issue is that the landlords don’t tend to live locally and they employ builders from out of the area so all the money leaves the town.
He also said that the house in Burns Close was only noticed because a planning application was submitted to convert the garage into bedrooms, something many landlords won’t need to do.
The council’s Liberal Democrat group leader Councillor Robin Parker raised the problem at a full meeting of the council earlier this month.
He said: “The issue is a great source of worry to many local householders, many of whom have lived in their area for many decades and I think that the council owe them some peace of mind.”
To sign the petition visit http://petitions.stevenage.gov.uk/REGULATEHMOS/