Another house in Old Town is to be converted from a family home to a large shared house of multiple occupation.

Developer Jital Umeria was given permission to replace the rear extension to 95 Stafford Street and to convert the building into a seven-bedroom HMO.

Councillors sitting on Swindon Borough Council’s planning committee heard of significant concerns from both ward councillors and neighbours, but also promises of a high-quality development from the applicant.

But their decision to approve the proposal was probably more to do with the constraints on a local authority planning committee under planning law.

Mrs Umeria’s application had originally been for nine bedrooms in the HMO but that was revised to seven.

The plans show two bedrooms on the lower ground floor, ground floor and first floor and one in the attic space.

One of the rooms on the first floor is now to be used as a home workspace for the residents and one on the ground floor as a home gym.

A shared kitchen and large communal living space will be on the lower ground floor.

Mrs Umeria told the committee: “There are too many low-quality, badly managed HMOs in Swindon. We have designed this for what we call co-living. We want people to have an amazing experience living here. And the more high-quality HMOs attracting residents there are, that will force other landlords to improve their offer.

“There is a real need for housing for those 18-35 who cannot afford to buy a home of their own.”

But fears were expressed by local Eastcott member Councillor Paul Dixon about parking and the fact that the landlords are based in London. He also queried whether there would be seven black bins, 14 recycling boxes and seven weighted blue bags kept in the front garden.

A neighbour also spoke and said: “If two of the rooms are to be a gym and a home office, why do they still have en suite toilets and showers when all the rooms are en suite? They will be converted to bedrooms shortly.”

That was a concern of councillor Jake Chandler, who enquired about a condition to prevent that, but he was told if the permission was for a seven-bed HMO any increase in bedrooms would need new planning consent.

After members including councillors Gary Sumner and  Neil Hopkins said they were constrained to approve the plans as it “ticked all the boxes”, members voted to add a condition about creating a bin store and to approve the plans.