Plans to turn a former county council care home into a 40-room bedsit in Ilkeston are set for approval.
The application, submitted by Burton-based Farrington Properties Limited, would see the former Hillcrest Home for Older People, in Kenilworth Drive, redeveloped.
Erewash Borough Council planning officers have recommended that the plans are approved at a meeting on Wednesday, November 20.
The developer says that the proposed bedsit, referred to as a HMO – a house in multiple occupation – would house around 44 people.
This has been reduced from the 53 initially proposed in the application.
If approved, the bedsit block would sit opposite Butterfly Castle Day Nursery.
The firm aims to split the former Derbyshire County Council care home into five “clusters” of bedrooms with a shared kitchen, dining area, bathroom and shower facilities in each cluster.
Eight of the bedrooms will have en-suite facilities and the bedrooms themselves would range from eight metres squared to 16.5 metres squared.
Each bedroom will be accessed independently and occupiers can make use of shared outdoor “amenity space” to the north west of the building.
A site office is also shown on the plans for management staff.
There would be a total of 13 parking spaces and spots for 40 bikes with access to the site off Hemlock Lane.
A statement submitted by the applicants says: “The proposals are a logical use of the building and will provide affordable and modest accommodation for which there is a recognised need within this locality.
The firm says that rooms will be let on short hold tenancies, for “typically short periods of time”.
It says: “Accommodation is primarily aimed at individuals and those between 23-45 years of age.”
Farrington says that 60 per cent of new households cannot afford to buy a property, and many of these would also not be able to afford to rent privately.
A statement submitted by Simple Planning, on behalf of the applicants, says: “Our clients are experienced in the HMO sector and are seeking to deliver low cost, yet good quality, accommodation.
“The proposals provide important affordable housing accommodation which is often made available on a short-term basis.
“This offers an unrivalled level of flexibility when compared to other forms of privately rented housing stock.
“The importance such accommodation can make to wider housing needs, often for vulnerable groups, should not be underestimated.
“Indeed, there is an identified need to focus growth and deliver affordable housing in this location.
“A care home facility would not be considered to represent a community facility and is thus not afforded the same protection as other healthcare facilities.
“Following the decommissioning of Hillcrest, it is clear that there is no demand for such a facility in this location.
“The application proposals provide a genuine opportunity to provide new, affordable residential units within a sustainable location, adding choice to the existing housing stock.”
Borough councillor John Frudd had requested that the application was referred to the planning committee and “has concerns that the development is over-intensive”.
The council’s housing strategy officer said: “The development may meet some local housing need.”
They advised that “it would be beneficial if some ground floor accommodation was suitable for the needs of people with physical disabilities and encourages sustainable developments with high levels of energy efficiency and low running costs”.
In total, 35 letters of objection were sent to the council in response to the plans.
They raised road safety concerns after two crashes near the site in recent months; insufficient parking spots; fears of crime and anti-social behaviour; safeguarding concerns; that the development was unsuitable due to its proximity to a children’s nursery; and that it would devalue houses nearby.
Recommending approval, council officers wrote: “The proposals would result in the reuse of an existing building which has fallen into disrepair and in its current state is of detriment to the immediate area and the residential amenity enjoyed by neighbouring occupiers.
“Many objectors are concerned about the assumed profiles of future residents and make reference to safeguarding concerns.
“The residential profile of future occupiers is not a planning consideration.
“However the applicant intends to provide for the ‘co-living sector’, providing an affordable option for local people experiencing a change in circumstances, and for temporary workers in the area.
“Notwithstanding the large number of objections to this development, many of which raise matters which are not capable of forming material planning considerations, the development is considered acceptable and it is recommended that planning permission be granted.”