PLANS to convert a Stalybridge pub into a house of multiple occupation (HMO) have attracted a number of objections from people living nearby.
Steven Higginbottom, of Exeter, Devon-based Morada Property Management, has applied to Tameside Council to turn the Stocks Inn, on Stocks Lane, into a facility that would house eight units.
Four would be on the ground floor with another four on the first – each will have a double bed, en suite, storage space, kitchenette, study table/desk and TV.
However, the proposal is seen a fierce local response, with more than two dozen objections having already been lodged.
Documents supporting the application state the plan has come about because, ‘there are very little affordable options for professional people to have a nice place to live that they could call home whilst they waited to get a property of their own.’
They added that Steven and partner Lisa, who sold a successful business before setting up Morada, came to the conclusion of converting the Stocks Inn after market research.
Documents add: “Renting their own home was very expensive particularly once you added in utility bills and was also very wasteful.
“The solution they derived was high quality shared accommodation for professional people. They would take large redundant commercial buildings such as public houses that no longer paid for themselves, design, build and repurpose them into shared accommodation.
“However the USP would be that they would be great places to live, very communal with excellent quality fit outs, fitting the latest technology, servicing the areas to keep them in tip-top condition at all times.
“The type of people that live in these houses are those moving out of the family home, those returning to the area, such as students leaving college, those relocating for work, those working local for short periods of time, ie. 6 – 12 months, those coming out of long-term relationships as a stepping stone.
“And people moving into the country to work such as doctors under the health and care work visa.
“Most of the time the residents are living alone so this type of accommodation is not just cost effective but makes for a much happier social way of living preventing loneliness and isolation.”
Despite assurances the property would be managed ‘via a very hands-on approach, even down to WhatsApp groups and 24/7 communication channels,’ concerns among those living nearby are rising.
Currently, the Stocks Inn is being marketed for £195,000 and is described as being under offer.
And a statement continues: “As well as lots of individuals, Morada deal directly with local organisations and supply a lot of accommodation direct to the NHS for doctors and nurses.
“Steve and Lisa, through Morada, strive to provide residents with an amazing social space to live with fantastic customer service and their business concept is proving very successful and will provide Stalybridge with a great space for people to live.
“We understand that the current public house is not operating as a profitable business and trade is very low. Hence the reason for the property being marketed for sale.
“We believe that undertaking the proposed development will provide good quality residential accommodation and improve the residential offer within the area.”
If planning permission is granted, the majority of the building’s exterior will remain the same, with the main alteration seeing the entrance moved back to its historic one on Stocks Lane.
A number of windows and doors would be filled in and a new projecting sign highlighting the entrance will be projected above the new door on Stocks Lane.
Tameside Council’s Speaker’s Panel (Planning) committee will decided with to grant or refuse the application.