Residents’ worry over shared occupancies

Residents campaigning about an HMO at Hardwick Park.

Residents campaigning about an HMO at Hardwick Park.

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Groups of residents in Denbigh Close and Hardwick Park in Banbury have formed committees to campaign against the creation of shared occupancy homes on their streets.

Karen Pearson and her husband Steve set up the Hardwick Park Action Group in response to the conversion of a property in Hardwick Park into a six-bedroom multi-occupancy dwelling (HMO), which owners Keith and Debi Kidd plan to let to young professionals.

A second committee has been set up in Denbigh Drive in response to a similar six-bedroom conversion.

Mum-of-two Mrs Pearson who has lived in the street with her family for 16 years, said: “We understand that HMOs are a good idea in certain areas in the city where there’s infrastructure for it, but we are three and a half miles outside of town.

“This is an estate where couples move in and families grow up and there’s a school opposite.”

At a meeting last Monday the Hardwick and Denbigh Drive residents discussed their concerns, including potential problems with car parking, noise, ‘bed-hopping’ and impact on house prices. Under current legislation no planning permission is needed to convert homes into HMOs and the committees have petitioned Cherwell District Council’s member for Hardwick Tony Ilott to try to persuade the council to create an Article 4 direction, which would mean even small planning changes such as the creation of HMOs would need council approval.

Mrs Pearson said: “People don’t want to buy a house if there are bedsits next to them. Our worry is HMOs are going to pop up all over the place. We want to stop this happening to other people in Banbury.”

Councillor Ilott has thrown his weight behind the campaign but is consulting residents before taking further action.

The conversions are being carried out by Mr and Mrs Kidd under a national franchise scheme known as Platinum Property Partners.

Mr Kidd said residents having nothing to fear as tenants will be young professionals, vetted by the owners. He said: “The type of people will be quite similar to house owners with a family and will fit in with the neighbourhood.” The Kidds have attended residents’ meetings and written to residents to address concerns and Mr Kidd said he does not believe the concerned parties are fully representative of the community.

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