PLANS to turn a detached home in a Brierley Hill street into a HMO to help rough sleepers get back on their feet have been approved.

Dudley Council plans to convert the property in Victoria Street into a House of Multiple Occupation to help prevent rough sleeping amid the pandemic now that planning permission has been granted.

The scheme had met with stuff opposition from residents living in the street - who said they had not been consulted about the plan.

But councillors on the authority's development control committee, which met last night (Wednesday January 13), gave their backing to the scheme which will see the single home property turned into shared accommodation with five ensuite bedrooms, an office, communal lounge and communal kitchen.

Residents living nearby had sent in letters of objection and a 25-signature petition saying they were concerned about the overbearing impact of the development, loss of privacy, noise, anti-social behaviour, parking and that a HMO could devalue their properties.

The planning application, however, which sought permission for a two-storey rear extension and a remodel of the building following demolition of a WC/shower, was given the green light after being recommended for approval by council officers who had reported to the committee that the development would not harm neighbouring properties or adversely impact on the character of the area or cause any significant highway safety concerns.

The scheme has received government funding from the Next Steps Accommodation Programme - with £157,171 going towards refurbishing the building and extension and £292,916 will fund 2.5 staff members for three years. The staff will be on site during the day and night cover will also be provided and CCTV installed.

The project, which will be managed by Dudley Council's homelessness prevention and response team, must be operational by March 31 2021 - the funding agreement stipulates.

It aims to provide accommodation to prevent rough sleeping during the pandemic - and the hope is that residents will stay permanently off the streets following support to develop budgeting, cooking and living skills over a period of six months to two years.

The council has said the project will help to fill a gap in its provision for rough sleepers and that one flat will be suitable for a homeless person with mobility needs.