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HMO’s – the slum boarding houses of the future

Aren’t HMO’s a wonderful thing? Guaranteed you don’t need an alarm clock, you can always have the inhabitants arguing loudly in the street at 4.40am, or having piles of rubbish lying around to attract the rats. Still, when you have 17 (yep, seventeen!) such establishments on the short stretch of Ruabon Road between the Ruthin Road junction and the Cemetery in Wrexham, I guess that’s going to be the norm. And that’s just the registered HMO’s, some don’t even appear on the ‘official’ HMO register.   I suspect there will be quite a few ‘unregistered ones too.


What a wonderful introduction to the town you get entering from this direction, ‘Ladies’ (I use the term VERY lightly) sprawling and brawling in the street in the first light of dawn, rubbish strewn everywhere because there are insufficient bins (or maybe the inhabitants don’t know how to use them?) and regular visits from the police (but always an hour AFTER the trouble has occurred). And such a poor exit from the town for those people who have lived their lives in the town, and on their way to their final rest at the Cemetery. If the mourners weren’t so sad to notice their surroundings, the vista of neglect would certainly set the mood. The area is turning from what used to be a very family oriented tidy Wrexham street in to a ghetto of the likes seen in run down, over populated inner city areas.


Then again, we ARE a city now, at least in certain councillors’ heads, usually those who don’t actually live in the town, so I guess this is what a city looks like. Progress, eh?


In reality, people DO need to live somewhere, but these over-inhabited hell holes are not fit for purpose in a lot of cases. The landlords cram as many rooms and beds into the space they have, and then cram in as many inmates as they possibly can. Then turn a blind eye to ‘hot bedding’ where beds are shared between shift workers. You see groups of men (overwhelmingly) standing on street corners waiting for their early morning lifts, and when that lift arrives, it drops off the previous shift who head back to the still warm beds.


With the much disputed LDP for Wrexham having been forced on the inhabitants by the Guildhall Mafia, if only they’d have the inclination and foresight to put in clauses to the mass developments arriving that the developers HAD to provide suitable HMO’s or mass accommodation as part of EVERY development and that these had to be built first, we could spread the HMO load across the Borough, not overwhelming certain areas with such accommodation to the degree that the character of the area is irrevocably changed and community spirit eradicated. But given the toothless approach of those councillors who appear from the outside to be in league with the property developers ‘for whatever reason’, they can’t even ensure that the current deluge of developments will have the basics, such as GP’s and schools (or even roads as in some cases!). Basically, Wrexham has become a dumping ground for thousands of young, foreign men, to the extreme detriment of the indigenous local population. This benefits no one, those needing housing are stuck forever in a system that relies on the public purse paying in to private hands, indigenous young people trying to get their own homes struggle to afford anything or find anywhere that is of a reasonable and affordable price.


Mary Anne SquareEventually, we end up with distinct areas in the town. A semi-affluent outer belt of commuters who contribute nothing to the town and spend their money elsewhere, and an inner area consisting of landlord owned HMO’s that represents the worst of conditions akin to the 19th and early 20th century boarding house society that the then foresighted councillors of the town fought tooth and nail to abolish to provide a higher standard of living for their townsfolk. We’re going back to the slum era, make no mistake about that, and there appears to be no one who can stop this, or even show the will to oppose it.




But never mind, we have the Local Development Plan, that will save us! (Sarcasm, in case anyone misses it).

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