Garden grabbing plans rejected despite campaigners locked out of meeting - The Solihull Observer

Garden grabbing plans rejected despite campaigners locked out of meeting

Solihull Editorial 13th Dec, 2017   0

A garden-grabbing scheme has been refused by Solihull planners as large numbers of residents and campaigners were locked out of the meeting.

More than 100 people turned up for the planning committee meeting where plans to demolish 23 Alderbrook Road and build six four-plus-bedroom houses onto the back garden were rejected by councillors.

It was against officer recommendations before the meeting.

The committee refused the application based on a policy within the Local Development Plan, which states developments should conserve and enhance local character, density, layout and respect the surrounding natural, built and historic environment.

Many of those who made the effort to make their way to the meeting were turned away and left feeling disappointed and frustrated as they were told to sit in the chamber and watch the meeting online.

Before the meeting Solihull council had been approached to see if it would re-locate the meeting from a committee room to the chamber to accommodate those attending.

It had done so previously for the Touchwood extension and other major applications.

Fiona Somerville, one of the campaigners, said: “Planning committee members were only aware of less than half of the 100 or so objectors who attended which was extremely frustrating as a high level of campaigning went into ensuring a good turnout.

“They could’ve stayed at home and watched the meeting online, but they wanted to be there to show their support and show the committee how passionate they were.

“We were obviously delighted at the decision and the unanimous refusal was better than we could have anticipated.”

A Solihull Council spokesperson said: “The Council recognised there was a significant level of interest in spite of the fact this was not a major planning application.

“Some local residents did ask to have this matter considered in the Council chamber, but this posed some technical and logistical problems.

Objections to the developments included the lack of privacy from removal of trees and installation of balconies, increased traffic and congestion and no affordable housing being provided.

Other objections included the height of houses, the development being out of character with the rest of the road and being a blot on the landscape similar to those behind 68 to 72 Alderbrook Road.

Residents and campaigners got the backing of more than 200 people in the form of a petition which was handed to the council before the meeting last Wednesday (December 6).


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