Homeowners face conservation area restrictions in Victorian Solihull street - The Solihull Observer

Homeowners face conservation area restrictions in Victorian Solihull street

Solihull Editorial 24th May, 2019   0

HOMEOWNERS could no longer be allowed to freely renovate properties within a protected Solihull suburb amid conservation fears.

Councillors are set to decide whether to remove ‘development rights’ from properties around St Bernards Road within the Olton conservation area.

If introduced, the measure would force residents planning certain types of renovation to apply for permission from planners.

Some of the works which would need permission include renovating doors, windows, roofs and chimneys.

Permission would even be needed to install certain gates and fences or to paint exteriors.

A report by senior development officer Jon Beesley prepared for next Thursday’s (May 30) planning and housing decision session recommends the measure.

The move is a result of concerns raised by Olton councillors and three local residents who feel listed buildings are being blighted by unfortunate renovation works, and the street’s distinctiveness is being eroded.

Tory Councillor Bob Grinsell – who spearheaded the move – said: “There is a history on this road that actually tells a story going back from 1870 to effectively 1930.

“Where you have got heritage and historic buildings, they have to be protected.

“The vast majority of people who own and live in this heritage property already comply and wish to enhance their properties in a proper manner.

“It will be a very simple form of planning permission as I understand it – in that residents will talk to officers and they will get a ‘yes’ or ‘no’.”

A survey of the 122 homes on the street revealed that 93 are of ‘historic and architectural interest’.

Mr Beesley’s report states: “The making of an immediate direction, bringing the specified development types under the immediate control of the local planning authority, is the preferred option.

“Removing permitted development rights and bringing minor works under the control of the local planning authority would ensure that change could be managed in a manner that preserves or enhances the character of the Conservation Area.”

Olton conservation area was designated in September 1980 in recognition of the area’s special interest, as a good example of late Victorian and early 20th century suburban development.

The boundary was subsequently extended in 1996 and again in 1999.

The area contains a rich variety of house styles with many fine examples that chart the history of domestic architecture from 1870 to 1930.

Residents’ complaints stem from a recent renovation on the street which saw the loss of the original windows and installation of double glazed replacements which they consider to have resulted in harm to the special interest of the locally listed building.

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