Revised plan for Accrington pub in bedrooms sparks fears of crime
A DEVELOPER made a second attempt to convert a disused Victorian pub into bedrooms, causing neighbors to worry about ‘drug wars and crime’.
In December, advisers rejected an offer by Mudassar Iqbal, of Burnley-based Blackwood Invest Group Ltd, to turn the empty shell of Britannia in Nuttall Street, Accrington, into a multiple-occupancy house (HMO).
The Hyndburn council planning committee ruled that the plan to create 13 beds with two shared lounges was not suitable because four of the bedrooms were too small.
Councilors called the proposal a “rabbit station” and some rooms “like prison cells.”
Now Mr. Iqbal has returned with a revised project with only 10 apartments and a town planner’s report recommends approval.
He says: “The demand site includes the old pub built around 1860 located at the corner of Nuttall Street and South Street in Woodnook, Accrington.
“This is a stone property with a two story end terrace.
“It hasn’t been used as a pub for quite some time.
“The revised request proposes to convert the building into a 10-bed HMO on two floors with a common living room on the first floor, two small common kitchens on the ground floor and on the first floor, and two storage rooms in the basement.
“This is a substantial improvement over the previous system.
“Each bedroom has a small en-suite bathroom.
“The two smaller rooms are 7.5 square meters.”
Two letters of objection indicated that there was no on-site parking; the rooms did not appear to be very large; there were a lot of rented properties in the area; and “a lot of drug wars and crimes” that the program could worsen.
The report says: “The old pub has now been empty for almost ten years and the interior has been emptied.
“Although fears have been expressed about an increase in crime, there is no evidence that this would be the case and it would not be reasonable to deny a building permit on the basis of an unfounded fear of an increase in criminality.
“The dimensions of the rooms offered now meet the minimum standards set by national spatial standards.
“The officers’ opinion is that the program has been improved enough since the first application that it is now approved.”
The report recommends 11 conditions, including the replacement of new windows and doors with traditional “historic style” windows.