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‘Residents more likely to be professionals’: Fears B-listed Inverness mansion could become student flats

An application has been lodged for a change of use of the building.

Cradlehall House
Cradlehall House, where an application for an HMO has been lodged. Image: Supplied.

A B-listed building and care home annexe in Inverness has been listed for change of use to a house in multiple occupancy (HMO).

An application has been lodged with Highland Council to turn Cradlehall House into “much-needed” accommodation by Belvoir Lettings.

However, fears about the building becoming a student accommodation or encouraging increased traffic by concerned residents have led to a campaign by locals.

Belvoir Lettings say the property could be occupied by students but it’s more likely to be professionals that move in.

The B-listed house is not part of the larger former care home building, but was purchased to provide staff accommodation for the home when it reopens.

Cradlehall Care Home closed earlier this year. 

Resident concerns over Cradlehall House

One mum, who very recently bought a house in the area, said she was concerned about safeguarding issues, if the house had numerous tenants on short-term leases.

She said: “I am shocked that after choosing my house and area very carefully an HMO application has been lodged with the council. We did not know about it when we purchased the house.

“We moved in a few weeks ago, and I am very concerned.

“The house would constantly have a turnaround of residents and we really just want to know our neighbours, this is a residential area and not suited to an HMO.”

She continued: “We have young children and I have concerns about safety. If it is filled with students then we all know what we can expect.

“There will be increased noise pollution and the bins are already overflowing.”

In a leaflet delivered to Cradlehall residents, 13 points of concern have been raised.

What concerns about the Cradlehall HMO have been raised?

They say having an HMO in Cradlehall House would:

  • “Detract from its historic status”
  • Be out of character with other buildings in the area
  • Have a “negative impact on residential amenities”
  • Devalue surrounding properties
  • Cause increased traffic in the area
Cradlehall House notice of objection
Residents have shared a letter outlining their concerns. Image: Supplied.
  • cars parked at Cradlehall House would be a “negative visual impact”
  • there would be “out of hours” traffic
  • antisocial behaviour
  • increased noise and disturbance
  • increased refuse and recycling bins
  • loss of privacy
  • deter house sales “going forward”
  • poor garden maintenance

The leaflet has led to a number of people approaching their local councillor Duncan Macpherson with concerns.

Mr Macpherson said: “I’ve been inundated with phone calls and emails from neighbouring properties and concerned local residents”

Mr Macpherson is on the council committee that will be tasked to making a decision about the application for an HMO, and is unable to comment further.

When three or more unrelated people live in a rented property, landlords must apply for a house in multiple occupation and be granted an HMO licence.

To do this, landlords are required to meet specific standards set down by the fire service, and, in this case, Highland Council.

Cradlehall House is ‘ready to go’ if HMO application is approved

Applicant Belvoir said the house will be a five-bedroomed house in multiple occupancy with space for five individuals.

A spokesman for Belvoir Lettings told The Press and Journal: “We have applied for an HMO for this property.

Cradlehall House
The sign above the door of Cradlehall House says it was built in 1754. Image: Supplied.

“We would like to make it clear it is not the former care home itself, but the house attached to it that would form the HMO.

“There will be five rooms available for rent, and there will be a reception room and shared kitchen diner in the house.

“Anyone would be entitled to apply to live in the house. Belvoir Letting in Inverness, we then vet the people who are going into the house.

“Yes, it could be students – but it is more likely to be professionals who are coming to work in the city.”

The spokesman pointed out that housing was in short supply in Inverness. He said: “We can have 60 applicants within a matters of hours for a three-bedroom home.

NHS staff could stay at Cradlehall House

“Many of the people who are looking for accommodation are waiting to take up jobs in the city’s essential services such as working for the NHS.

“We know that NHS staff are struggling to find somewhere to stay.

“Accomodation is in short supply in the city, so this property offering five rooms to individuals will make a difference.”

Cradlehall House
The official notice or intent for an HMO has been placed on the gate of the house. Image: Supplied.

He said: “It is not going to be a student hall party – it will be for professionals or students who have the means to fund their normal rent.

“This property will be affordable for people. There will only be one person allowed per room. Each room will have it’s own locked door.

He added: “The property is all ready and good to go when we are granted permission. I am sure it will be very popular.”

What is Cradlehall House?

On the listed building information about the Cradlehall House, it is described as a mid-18th century with subsequent additions and alterations.

The building is a two-storey symmetrical three-bay house with “single-storey flanking wings to form an H-plan building”.

A plaque on the south-west gable reads: “In this house lived Major William Caulfield who as HM Inspector of Roads from 1732 to 1767 planned and built 800 miles of military roads in the Highlands.”

The name Cradlehall is said to originate from the hoisting of inebriated guests into bed to recover.