CONTROVERSIAL plans to convert a six-bedroom Caldicot home into a house of multiple occupancy (HMO) have been given the go-ahead by Monmouthshire County Council.

The council’s planning committee approved Monmouthshire Housing Association’s (MHA) planning application last week despite calls from residents to reject it.

The council received 78 letters during their consultation period from residents who were concerned about who would live there.

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The plans for the HMO is to provide temporary housing for families. However, no more than six individuals will be allowed to live there at any given time.

A HMO is defined as a house lived in by three or more tenants, of which at least one is not related to or in a relationship with the others, and who share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities. Student housing is a typical example.

In the planning committee councillors heard from residents who were concerned for their safety over the plans and feared that prisoners could end up living there.

The committee heard that MHA received a social housing grant to buy the property and would enter into a 10-year lease with the council, which helped alleviate some concerns over a potential change in use over time if the HMO was to be granted.

Cllr Maureen Powell said it was important to provide housing to families who might need such accommodation.

Cllr Powell said: “As we have been told there are going to be families living there. There are many people, through no fault of their own, who lose their home.

“In fact, 40 years ago I was in that position and I was glad to have gotten into anywhere. I had two children at home and one away working.

“I believe there’s been a bit of scaremongering going on. ‘It’s going to be a hostel, oh there’s going to be a criminal living there.”

The committee approved the plans on the basis that a management plan was submitted, that there would be families living there and that obscure glass be put up in the relevant windows to protect privacy.

Cllr Giles Howard, who proposed the management plan condition raised concerns over allowing the conversion.

Cllr Howard said: “While I have no doubt that MHA would want to use it for its intended purposes, if that property did change hands or was managed in a different way then there would be no control over who would be there.”

The council received 78 letters during their consultation period from residents who were concerned about who would live there.

The planning application was due to be considered by the committee in August but a lack of available councillors delayed the decision.