Multiple occupation home plan put on hold in South Shields

The meeting was held at South Shields Town Hall
The meeting was held at South Shields Town Hall

Plans for a house in multiple occupation in South Tyneside have been put on hold over care concerns.

The decision came after South Tyneside Council’s Planning Committee discussed an application for a property in Seafield Terrace, South Shields.

Coun Geraldine Kilgour

Coun Geraldine Kilgour

This included a bid to designate one property - number 6 - as a six-bedroom HMO and the second property - 6A - as a two-person residential property.

The applicant, Tyne Housing Association, has used the site since 2010 providing rooms for vulnerable adults who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

The meeting was called after council officers found out the HMO was “unauthorised for planning purposes” following anti-social behaviour complaints.

During consultation, the proposals also provoked opposition, including a petition from people living nearby over crime fears.

Seafield Terrace resident, Ian Bruce told the meeting anti-social behaviour was a long-standing issue with HMO residents living a “nocturnal life.”

He said: “They’re out drinking all night, there’s noise and fighting and at 6am at the time you’re trying to sleep.

“This isn’t something that has happened one or two times, this has gone on for the last seven or eight years.”

Chief executive officer of Tyne Housing Association, Steve McKinlay, stressed that the firm was “part of the solution, not the problem”.

He said: “Tyne Housing, and myself in particular as the new CEO, are here to help elected members deal with the issue that is around this area.

“Please be aware that Seafield Terrace is not the epicentre of the problems, there are other providers that I’m happy to work with strategically to help improve the standards in this community.”

The meeting heard the social housing provider offers a 24-hour concierge service, CCTV and four staff providing support.

Councillors raised concerns about the type of support offered at the centre.

Coun Geraldine Kilgour said she wasn’t satisfied the HMO was in the “right place for the community” and raised concerns about lack of information from police and the borough’s community safety partnership.

She said: “It’s absolutely justified that we house our most vulnerable in this borough with the right care but having a concierge over a 24-hour mobile period isn’t that.”

Coun Gladys Hobson added HMOs were a “major problem” in South Tyneside and often served as a “dumping ground” for people with addiction problems.

According to the council’s report, placements at the property are intended to ease tenants ‘back into mainstream permanent house wherever possible’

A building is classed as a HMO if five or more people are living there from two or more separate households.

Last year, the council’s Place Select Committee launched a commission into issues around the accommodation and safeguarding for vulnerable people.

Following discussion, councillors voted unanimously to defer the application until an investigation concludes later this year.

Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service