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Housing application sparks comments about ‘reclaiming Beeston’ for families

An application for new flats in Beeston sparked impassioned comments over the town becoming a ‘student village’.

Plans to convert six garages and existing apartments to create two homes in Henry Road were turned down by Broxtowe Borough Councillors during the authority’s planning meeting on June 8.

The application for two four bedroom HMOs – houses in multiple occupation – did not state whether they would be for students.

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© Broxtowe Borough Council

Six neighbours objected to the application, citing parking and traffic issues and the number of HMOs already in the vicinity.

Councillors and Beeston residents have long raised concerns about the growing student population in Beeston, specifically in family homes.

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Broxtowe Borough Council brought in an ‘Article 4 Direction’ in March, meaning that planning permission is needed to change the use of a house to an HMO for four or more people.

Council documents stated that for the Henry Road plans, there would be “no significant negative impacts” on the area.

Councillor Philip Owen (Con) claimed that Beeston was “becoming a student village”.

He said: “I know people say that’s a good thing but these properties have been built for Broxtowe residents, not students.

“I am getting very concerned about the spread of student accommodation, never in my view to the benefit of local communities.

“I do not approve of converting garage space into living accommodation where there is clearly an inadequate provision of parking already, and this will make matters worse.

“We should try to dig our heels in and say enough is enough.

“It is time we reclaimed Beeston for family living.”

Councillor Greg Marshall (Lab) said he did not support the application but added: “I don’t want the impression to be gained that students aren’t welcome in Beeston.

“In my view, they are a vibrant part of the community.”

Patrick Lally (Lab), ward councillor for the area, said approving the application would be a “backwards step”.

“Henry Road is an absolute nightmare. You go down there and you can’t turn round at the bottom because it is so packed out”, he said.

“I urge the committee to reject this proposal. It is a step too far.”

Councillor Tim Hallam (Lib Dem) added: “Convert an office block into student flats, I haven’t got a problem with it.

“I cannot support this because this is detrimental to the people I know in society who are in need. This is, in my opinion, unnecessary.”

Justine Andrews, a Henry Road resident who spoke during the meeting, said her main concern was over parking.

She said: “A lot of the houses have several vehicles and we have to park half on the pavement and half off because the road is so narrow.

“We have a problem with surrounding HMOs who use Henry Road to park.

“Road use will increase the traffic with more vehicles. There was a lack of communication on this, a lot of people didn’t even know this was planned.”

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