Proposals for Everglades B&B in Brynhafod Lane, Oswestry, would see it reconfigured into eight apartments, communal areas and staff accommodation, along with an increase in parking spaces.
At a meeting on Wednesday evening, Oswestry Town Council’s planning committee heard pleas from those living near the property that the change of use would cause road safety issues and be out of keeping with its surroundings.
Seven objectors attended the meeting at Eastern Oswestry Community Centre to make their views known to councillors.
Concerns were raised that if the change of use was approved, the operator or any future owner of the building could decide to alter the services provided there to anything, from drug rehabilitation to offender programmes, without having to seek further permissions.
Others argued the residential location was unsuitable for a commercial enterprise, with the current B&B still being predominantly a residential property.
They further said the lane was narrow, dark and lacking a footpath, rendering it unsafe for potential residents of the home – some of whom could have mobility issues or be wheelchair users.
“I don’t think any of us are suggesting this type of housing is not necessary, it just is not necessary there” one neighbour told the committee.
“It is a quiet residential area. The moment you put a commercial unit into this sort of situation there’s no stopping what changes around it.
“It is not the right area for this at all.”
Despite 42 people so far registering their support of the scheme with Shropshire Council – compared to 32 comments against the application – no supporters attended the meeting.
A representative from Achieve Together, the care provider putting forward the plans, joined the meeting over video conference.
She said the company had engaged an independent highways consultant who had concluded that the lane was suitable and that the scheme would not generate “considerably more” traffic than the current B&B.
She added that the scheme would help local people in need of support to live independently in the community, in a good location close to the town centre.
Councillor Duncan Kerr said: “I know this lane, it’s dark and it’s not an attractive place to be at night – or even during daylight hours.
“I think highways issues are absolutely crucial to this and my first recommendation is that we must secure the advice of Shropshire Council’s highways team – I would be amazed if there weren’t any concerns.
“With this intensification of the site there will be a considerable increase in the number of vehicles.
“There is a very popular bridleway which emerges right on this lane.
“I am concerned about a commercial use in a residential area and I think it does create a precedent for other commercial uses in residential areas, and I think it’s out of keeping with the character of the area.
“For these reasons I think the town council should object.”
Seconding Cllr Kerr’s proposal, Cllr Paul Milner said: “We have seen Everglades grow and grow over the years and I think enough is enough.”
The committee voted unanimously to object to the proposals.
The planning application will be decided in due course by Shropshire Council.
Cllr Kerr, who also represents Oswestry South on Shropshire Council, said he would ask for the application to be decided by the authority’s northern planning committee rather than by officers.