Leeds City Council Planning Department
2 Rossington Street
Leeds LS2 8HD
1st June 2012.
I am writing with regard to application reference 12/01163/FU Change of use of two houses to form two five bedroom Houses in Multiple Occupation, 13 East Park Place and 16 East Park Mount. I understand this property is subject to an appeal against a licence refusal for the two properties to be converted into houses in multiple occupations.
As I live in close proximity to both properties I would like to bring the following to your attention. Prior to 2008 they were disused retail outlets, which in 2006 suffered a huge gas explosion which ripped the steel door shutters off with force of the explosion. Shortly after they were sold by auction.
Without any change of use or planning consent 13 East Park Place was converted into 2 self contained flats. I assume that the property at 16 East Park Mount was also altered at the same time as they are a distinct pair. The property was then managed by Care Accomodation by a Mr Naseem Aslam. As far back as October 2008 I have witnessed this disgusting state of this property. It was badly converted in 2008 and indeed was brought to your attention at Richmond Hill forum in May 2008 and it has suffered considerable neglect ever since. In October 2008 the property was inspected by environmental health and the property was removed from the register of available housing for emergency provision. During this time I was in touch with my local councillors & Hilary Benn MP and enclose a copy of a letter sent to him explaining about this property.
“Inspections have been undertaken by the Emergency Accommodation Team during September and October 2008, which reveal that other disrepair issues exist at the property that have not been addressed and therefore as the Emergency Accommodation Team proposed to remove their tenants from the property the Council’s Health & Environmental Action Service plan to inspect the property and take action as deemed appropriate under the Housing Act legislation.” – James Wigginton LCC.
Was any notice served – I suspect not? Since this date the properties have deteriorated even further – until earlier this month I have only witnessed the exteriors, however on bank holiday Monday 2012 I went with the recently ex tenant of 16 East Park Mount to document the inside of the property prior to her returning the keys. What I saw shocked me to the core. The landlord was Care Property Services.
The entirety of the property is rotten, with no damp course the house is covered in black mould from the attic to the cellar, which has standing water in it during wet weather. It has totally inadequate heating and ventilation, no damp course which is obviously urgently needed and was clearly unfit for human habitation. What also concerned me was the conversion to a HMO has clearly already begun – including several showers and even a kitchen in the attic space! I appreciate the company owning the property may be different but if selective licensing had actually viewed this property I doubt it would have ever have been licensed. It is clearly a hazard to human health. I wish to reiterate that up to April 19th 2012 this property had a tenant in! The tenant who is willing if required to speak to LCC has evidence of ceiling collapses and severe damp over the period of 12months she lived there. This tenant was supported by LCC and had a community psychiatric nurse and was very vulnerably housed and is now suffering from considerable health problems due to poor living conditions.
With regard to either house being a House in Multiple Occupation I wish to object in the strongest terms. The area is already densely populated and has no infrastructure to support the vulnerable tenants that are targeted by Care Property Services as being too compliant to complain. I will, if required speak publically against this appeal as I cannot over estimate how disgusted I am at both the state of the property and LCCs neglect of care in regard to the licensing of this property and duty of care for potentially very vulnerable people.
A picture tells a thousand words so I attach some photos of the inside and exterior of the properties over a period of years. Including the recent pictures of conversion, faulty electrics and lack of suitable fire doors and emergency exits. I also enclose a copy of the letter Hilary Benn was sent and will be copying him into the information I am sending you. Regardless of any appeal these houses should not be let until they meet the minimum standards required both inside and outside.
However I have returned from work this evening to discover that it appears that 13 East Park Place now has tenants in. Is the house fit to live in, was the tenant placed there via LCC, is housing benefit being paid for substandard accommodation? I don’t know but I watch and wait with interest to see significant improvements in the near future.
Yours sincerely, Sarah Covell COVEN
|Mould in bathroom - ground floor|
|Bedroom wall - first floor|
|Attic - Damp ceiling|