Shropshire Star

HMO planned above coffee shop gets go-ahead

Three floors of a historic Shrewsbury town centre building will be converted to bedsits for “young professionals” after Shropshire Council gave plans the thumbs up.

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The scheme for numbers 12 and 13 Mardol Head will see a 14-bedroom Home of Multiple Occupation (HMO) created in the upper floors of the building, currently occupied on the ground floor by coffee chain Cafe Nero.

A plan for floors one, two and three of the building gained consent for conversion into apartments last year, however applicant Shrewsbury Developments Ltd said the building’s new owners now felt the previous scheme was not financially viable.

“Despite an initial scheme for the conversion of the upper floors into eight apartments being granted, a thorough consideration of the financial, practical and logistical implications of the scheme made it clear that the approved scheme was not viable financially,” they said.

“An alternative application is therefore being submitted that minimises the amount of ‘heavy construction’ and structural alteration that would have been necessary for the prior scheme.

“The aim is to create a desirable, high specification HMO, for young-professional sharers in the heart of the town centre. The design will see fourteen en-suite double bedrooms spread over the three floors, with each floor having its own communal kitchen and living area for the use of the bedrooms on that floor.”

As part of the development, a new shop front will also be created for an existing commercial unit in the building which faces onto the top of Roushill Bank.

The scheme received no objections or comments from the general public, however Shrewsbury Town Council had objected, describing it as an “over-development”.

“There are too many proposed rooms for the one property and the communal areas appear very cramped. The proposal could work but with fewer units allowing the occupants more space,” they said.

However council planners disagreed, saying in their report that the proposed development would provide rooms which were three-times above the minimum government specifications – adding that fewer alterations would be required to the fabric of the historic structure than the previously approved apartment scheme.

“It is considered that the proposed alterations that will enable conversion of the upper floors of the building will secure a viable new use helping to ensure the long term maintenance and preservation,” they said.”

“It is considered that the proposal will provide a satisfactory standard of living accommodation for future residents with good sized rooms and shared communal areas including a small outside area and space for the storage of cycles.

“The proposed external alterations will preserve and enhance the character and appearance of this listed building, the street scene and this part of Shrewsbury Conservation area.”

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