PERMISSION has been given for a home to be turned into a house in multiple occupation (HMO) for people facing homelessness, despite concerns from councillors.

Flintshire Council's planning committee agreed to give the green light for an application to change the use of a three bedroom house in Village Road, Northop Hall, to a four bedroom HMO.

Speaking at the committee meeting senior planning officer Mark Harris said: "There have been a number of concerns raised in relation to the proposed use and the potential occupants.

"The applicant has confirmed it is to be used solely as a HMO and not as a care facility.

"They will be using the site in association with the Owen Jones charity and it is intended to use the property to house people who would otherwise be made homeless."

The Reverend Dr Richard Hainsworth, chair of the Owen Jones charity which owns the property, said: "The farmhouse is currently vacant. The envisaged tenants are up to four single men in four single occupancy rooms.

"It is not intended that these are individuals who require in-house care or supervision such of those with complex subs abuse issues, sex offenders or anyone who requires personal care due to health - but rather those who require temporary provision of support to find work or benefits and a landlord reference to help them move into their own longer term accommodation.

"This is in no way a care facility - the intention is not to house long term street homeless, but to intercept people at risk of homelessness before serious issues develop."

He added tenants will be offered counselling, support and advice but there is no resident carer.

Northop Hall councillor Tony Sharps told the meeting: "I don't know who they are or what the condition of their health is.

"We have young families and elderly people living opposite and they are all concerned about what will happen here. It is the lack of information that is upsetting everyone.

"I would like to see it refused. And the people living opposite can have a bit of peace in the twilight of their lives."

Mostyn ward member cllr Patrick Heesom said: "The fact of the matter is we don't have a policy and that is long awaited.

"Those of us who had something to do with this HMO issue for a while know there is a difference culture in the accommodation and provision. The habits and nature of that detached, separate conglomerated living are not the same or standard with what is in this location.

"I am persuaded that in this context, in this location, a use which is being applied for here is out of character and not affording anything that is long needed or wanted in the area."

But Buckley Bistre East cllr Richard Jones referred to a recent decision taken by the planning committee to approve a HMO in Hawarden, adding: "This is identical really - and although I understand the plea made by the local member we don't have a lot of reasons in planning terms to refuse.

"We can't refuse it because we think people are going to be vulnerable. In policy terms we have no choice."

Andrew Farrow, chief officer for planning and public protection, told councillors that Flintshire Council will develop a guidance note for HMOs until the authority's local development plan is in place.

Following the debate the committee voted to approve the plans.