A committee will make a decision on plans to turn a former police station in Sowerby Bridge used in the BBC One drama Happy Valley into a 19-bed sit complex
WHM Properties, which had previous plans rejected last October submitted proposals to change the station into a 19-bedsit Large house in multiple occupation (HMO), plus caretaker's accommodation and ancillary storage facility.
Now councillors on the Calderdale Council planning committee will make a decision and agree with recommendation by officers for the plans should go ahead.
The proposal involves filling in the cellar, raising the internal floor level on the ground floor and installation of stairs (to accommodate flood resilience features), conversion of existing rooms on ground and first floor levels, and retention of the roofspace as existing.
No external works are proposed other than creation of doorways to storage units on the ground floor. In addition it is proposed to dedicate two parking spaces in the yard as ‘operational parking’, plus utilise one existing ground floor room as bin storage.
In 2018 the developers wanted to change the use of the building on Station Road, Sowerby Bridge – which has had another life as a set for BBC television’s hard-hitting police drama Happy Valley – into 28 bedrooms and two bedsits
In response to objections, and a report submitted by West Yorkshire Police’s Architectural Liaison Officer which said such premises could give rise to anti-social behaviour, the planning agent fro WHM Properties said: “It’s not for paedophiles and axe murderers – it’s for ordinary working people.”
But he failed to convince councillors on Calderdale Council’s Planning Committee who refused to grant permission, going against planning officers’ recommendation.
Councillors heard 208 objections had been received, many when the application was first submitted calling the conversion a hostel. Concerns included it being too small. crime, parking, the character of the building, increase in traffic and noise pollution.
In a planning statement supporting the new application it states: "Members made it clear both during the Planning Committee Meeting and afterwards in private that they would prefer to see fewer units of larger size within the building.
"The application before you shows a reduction from 30 to 19, with each bedroom now large enough to contain its own shower, toilet and sink.
"In addition and in response to Member’s concerns, the proposal also contains caretaker’s accommodation. Having an individual on site is intended to provide an element of reassurance for both residents and for Members."
The Council's planning committee will meet at Halifax Town Hall on March 19.