A developer said there was a ‘shortage’ of House of Multiple Occupancy rooms in Barrow.

Members of the Barrow in Furness local area planning committee for Westmorland and Furness Council approved proposals to convert a four-bedroom residential property on Brighton Street into an eight-bedroom HMO.

The proposed HMO will consist of three bedrooms on the ground floor as well as a communal kitchen area, three bedrooms on the first floor and two bedrooms on the second floor.  All the bedrooms will have en-suite bathrooms according to planning documents.

The applicant, Andrew Bartlett from Rivark Ltd, said: “Barrow is growing very quickly and it’s clear there is a shortage of HMO rooms.

“It needs to be pointed out with the cost-of-living crisis that’s going on HMO rooms are a lot cheaper to rent out than an entire house.”

Mr Bartlett told the committee the properties ‘typically attract working professionals’ and the developer has another HMO in Barrow which has doctors, nurses and BAE contractors as tenants.

A report prepared by planning officers states: “The site is set close to the town centre within a residential area. There is evidence of increasing economic development in the area which is improving a variety of properties, some of which have been vacant for quite some time and have been in a poor state of repair.

“From information provided along with other HMO applications, there is a clear need for this type of accommodation in the town. It is likely that, in future, applications for houses in multiple occupation will increase given the demand for accommodation for professional workers with the continued significant expansion of BAE systems along with the introduction of the University campus.

“The proximity to local employers from the site could also be a likely driver for this type of property conversion in the site locality.”

The plans have received eight objections which state concerns over parking in the area and anti-social behaviour.

In response to concerns over parking, the report by planning officers states one off-road car parking space will be provided and adds: “Given the sustainable location of the site in terms of transport links and the supporting information provided it is not reasonable to expect an increased level of parking to be provided from this scheme.”

On concerns over anti-social behaviour in the area, the report says there is ‘no evidence’ to confirm the site will be a source of anti-social behaviour and adds the proposed HMO will need to be licensed which will require the site to be ‘properly managed’.

Mr Bartlett told the committee eight-bedroom HMOs come with ‘a lot better legislation’ than six-bedroom HMOs which ‘protects the neighbours better’ as for example sound insulation will be going in.

Members of the development control committee are recommended to approve the application on March 12 at Barrow Town Hall.