The risk of fire means that a decision on converting a five-bedroom house in Old Town into a house of multiple occupation for nine young professionals has been delayed.

Developer Scott Kirby wants to convert the family home at 74 Bath Road.

But as well as concerns over parking and congestion, and concern about the number of such HMOs in the area, there were specific concerns about fire escape.

One of the bedrooms is proposed on the lower-ground floor, with no way of getting out except though the communal dining room and kitchen.

Councillor Nick Martin was not impressed: “Most fires start in kitchens.”

And Councillor Peter Watts seemed on the verge of suggesting the scheme be approved when he asked an officer whether they were satisfied with the fire arrangements.

When he received the answer that “the general view is that it was probably all right” he changed his mind.

Councillors voted to defer a decision to allow the issue to be resolved by nine to four