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Planners' advice on bedsit development thrown out by councillors

Rejected: Advice to accept a bedsits development was dismssed by councillors
Rejected: Advice to accept a bedsits development was dismssed by councillors
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Proposals to turn a former Job Centre building into bedsits has been rejected by councillors who were scathing in their condemnation of the plans, although Barnsley Council planning staff had recommended they approve the scheme.

The two storey building in High Street, Goldthorpe, would have been converted to provide 15 bedrooms, with shared kitchens, to create what is officially called a house of multiple occupation, and although a 147 name petition against the proposals was submitted, planning officers recommended councillors sitting on the authority’s planning board accept the change of use.

However, several councillors spoke strongly against the scheme and they voted to reject the plan, leaving the applicants free to withdraw the application rather than see it formally turned down by the council, something they had already indicated to officials they wanted to do.

Coun Chris Lamb told the meeting: “I think it is a mistake to allow this to take place because we would be treating people like animals. If you treat people like animals, they tend to start behaving like animals.”

Coun May Noble represents the area and said: “It is the wrong type of accommodation. If it was apartments, and not bedsits, it would enhance the area. I would like to see the building used differently. Normally, houses have a garden. There is a bit of green space, but it isn’t a garden.”

Coun Mick Stowe said there were already issues around parking in the area, with the site providing space for only seven cars to cover 15 rooms, and he said: “It is the wrong development, in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“If we have bedsits with no room for leisure, we have a cocktail for problems,” he said.

Head of planning Joe Jenkinson told councillors the recommendation to adopt the scheme had been “an incredibly finely balanced decision” by officers.

“I have a huge amount of sympathy for what I have heard,” he said.