Councillors look for clarity after concerns over shared housing plan in Sheffield neighbourhood

The Osteopathic Practice in Sale Hill, Broomhill
The Osteopathic Practice in Sale Hill, Broomhill
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Councillors will visit a Sheffield clinic after neighbours objected to plans to convert part of it into a shared house.

Naomi Watkins and Chris Johnson want to make changes to the building that houses The Osteapathic Practice in Sale Hill, Broomhill.

They plan to turn part of it into a house of multiple occupancy, or HMO, with rooms for five residents, and a self-contained flat.

The practice would remain on site.

More than 20 objections were sent to Sheffield Council, and two of the building's neighbours appealed directly to councillors to reject the plans at a meeting yesterday.

They raised concerns about noise, litter and parking. But they also said creating another shared house would take the area above national guidelines designed to restrict housing density and ensure mixed communities.

Council officers decided the plans were within the guidelines - but only after changing their minds at least twice when both objectors and the applicants came up with new information.

Tom Smith, who lives next door, said the figures on which the council was making its decision were not 'genuine' or 'accurate'.

He questioned officers' view that the building was unsuitable for a family home because of its size and lack of private garden.

And Mr Smith said he had complained about bins from other shared houses being left in the street without any action being taken.

"If we complain, what are going to be the consequences?" he asked.

Fellow neighbour Lindsey Thomas raised similar concerns. She said it was 'not a popular proposal', and pointed out there were four seven-bedroom houses within 50 metres.

She added: "That's not creating a balanced community and that's what the figures are there for."

Speaking for the applicants, Robert Brown said the density figures were accurate and fell inside planning policy.

He added: "I do feel the two objections have taken a very generic view of HMO occupation in the area that doesn't apply to this particular site."

Members of the planning committee sought to clarify the policy with officers, but after some discussion voted to visit the site to get a better idea of the implications of the development.