Anger as Central Beds Council seeks planning permission for homeless HMO in Luton suburb

The site on Crawley Green Road
The site on Crawley Green Road

A neighbouring council is accused of trying to “dump its homeless burden” on to Luton after seeking permission to set up a house in multiple occupancy (HMO) in a suburb of the town.

The ex-Royal Naval Club on Crawley Green Road opposite St. Anne's Church was converted into a B&B but has never opened for business due to lack of demand.

Now, Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) has applied to planning authorities in Luton to transform the disused space into a 17-bed HMO to house homeless families.

One local resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “I think its disgraceful that CBC has chosen to dump its homeless burden on to Luton.

“This is one of the quietest, most residential parts of the town and we’re very proud to live here.

“We don’t have much crime and we have three schools within 50 metres of the site. It’s not appropriate at all.

“Our neighbourhood will be ruined if this goes ahead and CBC won’t have to deal with any of the negative social problems it will cause.”

In its planning statement, CBC defended placing the HMO in Luton, adding: “Some households need to be placed outside of Central Bedfordshire initially due to risks of violence and harm from individuals.

“This accommodation will ensure the needs of this client group can be met in a supported environment without relying on B&Bs, hotels and PTA which is not always decent or suitable.”

But the Luton resident was unimpressed and responded: “What nonsense, as though abusive ex-partners would be put off at coming to Luton.

“CBC is ten times the size of Luton and they have ample space for a homeless HMO.

“They just don’t want complaints from their own residents.”

CBC states it would work with its homeless tenants to resolve issues such as debt and domestic troubles, and would help find suitable permanent accommodation. The average stay would be 30 weeks.

> Luton residents have until Friday, September 27 to submit comments on the application REF 19/01087/COU. Written comments may be sent to the planning department at the town hall or on the council’s website here.