A bid for planning permission for unauthorised bedsits in Aldershot is "poorly-conceived" and just a ploy by the owners, neighbours have claimed.

In July last year, Rushmoor Borough Council (RBC) served enforcement notices on Jan Mandozai and Mohammed Choudhary (known as Syd) after it came to light they had created 14 bedsits without permission at Grasmere House in Cargate Avenue.

The pair, who are waiting for the outcome of their appeal against the notices, have now submitted formal plans to RBC to create flats at the former care home, which is listed as a “building of local importance”.

A council planning officer has recommended their application for approval when it goes before RBC’s development committee on Wednesday (March 29), on the basis it would create a “satisfactory living environment” at the property.

However, the plans - to develop three one-bedroom flats and two two-bedroom flats with seven off-street parking spaces - have attracted nine letters of objection from neighbours.

One of the objectors said: “I fear that this is just another way for the owners to delay matters to allow the building to continue as an HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) so they can collect a good income.”

Another described the application as “incomplete, poorly-conceived and containing clearly unacceptable plans”.

Grasmere House, which lies within the Cargate Avenue Conservation Area, was a residential care home housing up to 12 people.

In April 2015, RBC received a complaint that the property had been sold and converted into an HMO without planning permission.

In November 2015, further complaints were received that a garage and store building behind the house were also being used for accommodation.

The owners now want to demolish this store building to provide parking, with vehicle access via an unadopted single-lane track behind Cargate Avenue called Frog Lane.

The council’s case officer said flats were the “most appropriate use” for the building, but a lack of off-street parking had been the “major limiting factor” until now.

He added: “This scheme strikes the right balance between providing sufficient parking to support the proposed use, safeguarding the character of the conservation area and the locally important building and also the amenity of adjoining residents.”

But objectors claimed Frog Lane was “entirely unsuitable for such heavy use” and said occupants of the proposed flats would still be forced to park in Cargate Avenue, where space was already very limited.

Mr Mandozai and Mr Choudhary own the former Beehive pub in Aldershot High Street while Mr Choudhary is landlord of The Old Warehouse off Victoria Road, which were converted into six and 18 unauthorised bedsits respectively.

The deadline has passed for unauthorised bedsits in Aldershot to be closed down at The Old Warehouse (left) in Victoria Road and the former Beehive pub in High Street
The deadline has passed for unauthorised bedsits in Aldershot to be closed down at The Old Warehouse (left) in Victoria Road and the former Beehive pub in High Street

RBC has said it will be investigating both properties after enforcement notices, requiring the bedsits to close, expired earlier this month.

Get Hampshire contacted Mr Choudhary for comment but is yet to receive a reply.