In August, LBRUT refused an application for planning permission to convert 66 Crown Road into a hostel - essentially 8 bed sits. The refusal was welcomed by the many local residents who opposed the scheme.

Conversion work at 66 Crown Road has now recommenced, however.

For two weeks builders have been renovating the interior of the property and installing furniture. This morning, builders confirmed that their task is to complete the conversion of the house into bedsits as soon as possible.

The property’s owner - Mr. Robert Massie - intends to appeal the decision to refuse planning permission.He must do so within six months of the date of refusal (10 Aug 2009).

Although continued conversion alone represents no breach of planning law, occupancy of any of the bed sits prior to a successful appeal hearing does contravene the Council’s ruling.

Today a number of local residents have informed the Council’s Planning department of Mr. Massie’s continued attempts to convert the property. An LBRUT Enforcement Officer stated to me that he would be contacting Mr. Massie to establish his intentions and advise him against undertaking any steps which would lead to a breach of the Council’s authority. The Enforcement Officer commented that the Council possess a number of powers to enforce its decision - including a temporary stop notice and eviction order.

– from Greg Hughes