PROPOSALS to convert a town centre language school into a total of 14 bedsits will go before planners next Monday.

Two ward councillors are objecting to the plans to convert a language school at Verulam Place into two houses in multiple occupation, each with seven bedrooms.

Cllrs Dave Smith and Bob Chapman jointly "called in" the application, claiming there was already a proliferation of HMOs in the town centre and there was a need for self-contained apartments.

However planning officer Ruth Povey is recommending the application be granted, which means the final decision will rest with members of the planning committee.

Council policy currently restricts the numbers of new HMOs in areas where there is already a high concentration of such properties. There are a number of HMOs in the surrounding area of this application but because the property earmarked for conversion is a language school and not a dwelling house, the rules do not apply.

The report going before the planning committee states: "This is a small street with a residential population and additional HMOs would not be out of keeping with the adjacent residential uses.

"It could be argued that the proposed residential use would sit more comfortably with the existing predominate residential use of the street.

"Overall it is considered that the change of use from non-residential use to residential use in the form of HMOs would not be out of character or at detriment to the character/appearance of the conservation area."

The properties only have two parking spaces but residents would be able to apply for a further parking permit for each property. A cycle store for up to 10 bikes is also proposed.