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Plans for 'massive' 115-room HMO in Childs Hill 'won't solve housing crisis' - councillor

PUBLISHED: 14:09 12 February 2020

The Best Western Palm Hotel in Childs Hill. Picture: Google

The Best Western Palm Hotel in Childs Hill. Picture: Google

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Plans to turn the Best Western-owned Palm Hotel in Childs Hill into a mammoth 115-bed shared home have been met with anger.

Neighbours don't understand how the scheme - which would see hotel rooms converted into short-term accommodation - can be supported by infrastructure, while a local councillor warned this was "not the way to solve the housing crisis".

The plans, submitted by Rooms and Studios Management Ltd (RSM), would see the hotel - which was created by converting a number of semi-detached properties - into a house in multiple occupation (HMO) with 115 rooms.

In a planning statement submitted by agent Rapleys on behalf of RSM, the developers explained the plan would offer "low rent, short term accommodation which is a key element of the housing market".

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But Cllr Anne Clarke (Lab, Childs Hill) told this newspaper: "People are worried as it will be quite massive.

"You are not going to solve the housing crisis with a bunch of rabbit hutches in Hendon Way."

Cllr Clarke, who is hoping to be selected to replace the retiring Andrew Dismore as the Labour candidate to be Barnet and Camden's London Assembly member, added: "There is a place for HMOs, run well. But this is a different case."

Cllr Clarke said this would form a ring of HMOs around Hendon Way and she "could not imagine" how traffic would increase with "so many people living individually at the proposed HMO".

But Rapleys and RSM argue the conversion will actually lead to less traffic. They said: "Overall, the proposal provides appropriate development, which will provide short-term accommodation in the area and will provide a number of benefits to the local area including the best use of the site by infilling a number of existing large event rooms, which will bring an end to the organisation of large events at the site that have caused a number of issues to local residents."

Objecting to the application, one neighbour - Chris McCulloch - said: "Turning this property from a hotel into a HMO is not in keeping with the area. There is almost no adequate parking for such a large number of individual rooms."

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