Two Victorian houses, which have been knocked into one and used as either a student-style shared house for 10 people, or a guest house can be turned back into two houses.

And the yard at the back of the property, which is being illegally used as a car park for the property can also be used to build a block of two two-bed flats.

Sacchin Sharma of Westridge Holdings Ltd based in Newbury Berkshire has been given permission for the re-conversion of 31-33 County Road back into family homes, by blocking off the doors between the original separating wall of the terraced houses.

The side of Number 33 runs along Colesbourne Street and what would have been the back garden of the property has been levelled and concreted over and is being used as a small car park.

One of the first issues for planners at Swindon Borough Council was a slight confusion of what the building, which is now vacant, was last used for.

The planning officer’s report says: “A 2018 application [to build flats on the site] describes these properties as having been converted into one and operating as a large 10-bedroom HMO. It is unclear if between 2018 and current it did change to operate as a guest house use or rather stayed in use as a large HMO.”

Awhile the redivision of the two original houses is uncontroversial enough, the construction of a small block of flats at the rear of the site was less so.

Neighbours in County Road feared the block would overlook their gardens and into their rooms, but planning officers said the flats would not have rear facing windows on the upper storey, and ground floor windows would be screened by the fence between the properties.

In deciding to approve the scheme, planners said: “Whilst there would be an overall loss of housing “units” the proposals would replace existing poor quality HMO accommodation with 4 new homes of higher quality residential accommodation.

the proposal would respect the existing character and context of the street scene and would actually positively enhance the surroundings through changing the existing use of the land as an area of hardstanding for vehicle parking which is not considered to be visually appealing.

The proposed new block of flats would have a design which would integrate well into the existing street scene and enhance this existing area of vehicular hardstanding and contribute positively to the character of the area.