A company has had three applications to convert properties into student-style shared homes approved.

SCH (UK) Ltd, based in Royal Wootton Bassett, had already made the changes necessary at the three properties, but then applied for the planning permission to make the changes legal.

It asked for permission to change 38 Lansdown Road in Old Town from a six-person home to a HMO with seven bedrooms, housing seven people.

It also wanted its conversion of 55 Curtis Street, in the town centre into a HMO with seven beds and seven residents across four floors made legal by retrospective consent.

And finally, SCH applied for retrospective permission for the conversion of 1 Brunswick Street, Old Town from seven individual bedsits to a HMO for 10 people, with 10 bedrooms.

The two latter applications were approved with little fuss by the borough council’s planners.

But they thought a little harder about the plan at Lansdown Road.

The Victorian end-of-terrace house was in use as a six-person HMO, but permission was needed for the increase in residents.

The planning officer’s report said: "With regard to the amenity of neighbouring properties, the use of the property as a seven-bed residential HMO would be unlikely to give rise to any undue levels of noise and disturbance over and above the six-person HMO use.

“The retrospective application would not bring about any material adverse highways impacts.

"As the HMO rooms all meet or exceed the internal space standards set by Environmental Health and the residential use would be unlikely to give rise impacts in term of noise and disturbance.”

There is nothing to stop anyone making changes to a property and then applying for retrospective planning permission, but it comes with the risk that if refused, the developer is then left with the costs of restoring the building or site to its previous condition.

If they do not comply with that, a planning authority like Swindon Borough Council can issue fines if enforcement action is not obeyed.

South Swindon Council has policies against encouraging the proliferation of HMOs in its area but did not object to these applications.