A petition fighting against a house conversion that could see up to 40 people living under one roof has gained 650 signatures.

People living in Buckingham Road in South Woodford want plans to convert The Old Vicarage at 49, 49a and 49b on their street into a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) to be halted.

Those behind the petition say the owners were originally granted planning permission to convert the property into three family homes, but since then plans appear to have changed.

The road is currently home to several young families and elderly people.

Neighbours do not believe an HMO on the site is a suitable development due to a lack of school places, doctors surgeries and the need for better traffic management

Those living nearby are holding a protest at the address tomorrow (Saturday, December 8) are meeting with Redbridge Council next week to discuss the issue.

Pat Baron, a spokesperson for those living in Buckingham Road, said: “We are not the sort of people that say ‘not in our backyard’ and if they wanted to just convert it into two family homes, then that would have been fine.

“The council’s plans state that HMOs should only be in metropolitan areas and should not be out of character with an area, but South Woodford is definitely not metropolitan.

“The main point is the council did not inform us as interested parties of the change to the requested plans. There is a housing shortage, but people should have at least a decent place to live – this is not the sort of place people should have to live in.”

To sign the petition against the HMO and find out more, click here.

A council spokesperson said the council is aware of the developments and the owners have planning consent to develop two dwellings at 49 Buckingham Road and small HMOs at both 49a and 49b Buckingham Road.

They pointed out there has been no breach of regulations on the site because none of the properties are yet occupied, but the authority will monitor the situation as work progresses.

They added: “A mandatory licence has also been submitted and the council are working with the owners to ensure the property meets the required standards.

“To meet the planning regulations they have been advised that each HMO should have no more than six people. Further inspections will be made.

“Regarding the planning consent at number 49 to convert into two dwellings. The adjoining neighbours of the site were consulted by letter.”