Controversy over marquee at historic Solihull hotel and conservation area - The Solihull Observer

Controversy over marquee at historic Solihull hotel and conservation area

Solihull Editorial 20th May, 2019 Updated: 20th May, 2019   0

A HISTORIC Solihull hotel is seeking approval to keep a marquee put up without planning permission – and objected to by heritage watchdogs.

The five-metre marquee was installed in the historic grounds of the Grade I listed Castle Bromwich Hall Hotel on Chester Road.

The 16th Century red-brick hotel is surrounded by Grade II* listed gardens and the nearby Grade I listed parish church in a conservation area.

A retrospective application to keep the marquee was submitted by conservation specialists Reading Designs and was recommended for rejection by planning officers before it was withdrawn ahead of Wednesday’s (May 15) planning committee meeting.

Planning permission is required as it will be up for more than 28 days.

It is earmarked for events including weddings during the summer and will be partially dismantled at the end of the summer, a planning officer’s report states.

The report released ahead of the meeting revealed objections from conservation watchdog Historic England among others.

It said: “The construction of the marquee, we believe, involved some earth moving and possibly the demolition of some of the later and more minor garden structures which may or may not have been curtilage structures of the listed building.

“The construction of the marquee demonstrates that it is a large structure which overtops the surrounding landscaping.

“This has a discordant effect on the setting of the parish church and more particularly on the Grade I house.

“It also has an unfortunate impact on the relationship between the various heritage assets.

“The level of harm is sufficiently high to merit a refusal of the application on heritage grounds.”

Others to object along similar lines include conservation body the National Trust, landscape heritage charity The Garden Trust and the council’s own heritage officers.

Objections from the Castle Bromwich Parish Council and the council’s public protection officers concern parking and traffic problems, and noise for neighbours.

There were 14 letters of objections submitted and one in in favour which says the marquee would bring jobs and provide Castle Bromwich with a ‘decent’ wedding venue.

A letter sent on behalf of the applicant by architect and historic building consultant Nick Reading on Wednesday said: “Having read your report to committee recommending refusal, my client has decided to withdraw the application with a view to addressing your concerns and those of Historic England in detail and re-submitting the application in six to eight weeks time.

“The committee is still welcome to continue with the site visit if you wish.”

The applicants concede the marquee is not ‘totally in keeping’ with the surroundings but claim it won’t cause damage and will be fully removable.


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