Application to build 'monstrosity' block of flats refused amid public protest - The Solihull Observer

Application to build 'monstrosity' block of flats refused amid public protest

Solihull Editorial 19th Jun, 2018 Updated: 19th Jun, 2018   0

AN APPLICATION to build a block of flats described as a ‘monstrosity’ was refused amid widespread public protest and a petition signed by 350 residents.

Plans to demolish 6, Alderbrook Road to build a block of five flats were rejected at a planning committee meeting on Wednesday June 13.

Campaigners say over 150 angry residents turned out to protest outside the Civic Suite.

Objectors said the application could have lead to a developers’ free-for-all across the borough and would have undermined local democracy.

Solihull council’s planning officers had recommended the application for approval following adjustments.

Speaking at the meeting resident David Skinner said: “It threatens to change forever the character of the Alderbrook Road and indeed Solihull itself. A block of flats is totally inappropriate for our street.”

He mentioned the petition with 356 signatures against the proposal and the 135 individual letters of objection the council received.

Andrew Murphy, speaking on behalf of the developers – Project Six Alderbrook Road Limited – said the ‘attractive’ block of flats is in compliance with planning regulations and is not an example of garden grabbing.

He said: “I commend this to you as a high quality residential development to help meet the borough’s housing need for smaller dwellings.”

But St Alphege Conservative councillor Joe Tildesley, who sits on the planning committee described the development as a ‘monstrosity’.

He said: “I strongly disagree with just about every single finding in the officer’s report.

“It does not protect the environmental quality and attractiveness of the mature garden areas.

“It has a footprint of over twice the size of the property it would replace. It is a gigantic block of flats.”

Several members of the committee supported the application on the grounds it would cater to housing need and would not alter the character of the area due to looking more like a house.

But Coun Jim Ryan said: “This application, if approved, is going to have enormous impact on the amenity of local residents

“To me it’s congruous, out of keeping, it’s too large and should be rejected.”

Campaigners said councillors giving the go-ahead following the planning officer’s recommendation would have signalled to developers that they can apply anywhere in the borough and would imply the planning committee will ignore the views of local residents when assessing applications.

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