Knowle firm calls for change to conservation area rules on shutters after break-in - The Solihull Observer

Knowle firm calls for change to conservation area rules on shutters after break-in

Solihull Editorial 29th Sep, 2017   0

A KNOWLE business owner is calling on councillors to scrap a ban on security shutters in a conservation area – after she was unable to protect her hairdressers from burglars.

Bev Williams at Blow Hairdressers, was devastated when she turned up to her salon and saw the door had been smashed. Designer straighteners, tongs, hairdryers and products had been stolen.

She estimates thieves made off with around £5,000 worth of GHD styling equipment.

The attack on August 31 is believed to be one of three in Knowle and Dorridge in recent weeks.

West Midlands Police have seized three cars thought to be involved in the break-ins since the beginning of August.

The police have also stepped up patrols to provide reassurance to the business community and urged anyone with information to contact 101.

Bev has tactics in place to protect her shop from thieves including a burglar alarm and her shop windows and doors have toughened glass.

However she wants to do more.

She told The Observer she would like to have shutters on the outside of her Lodge Road salon to prevent another burglary, but is unable to as her business sits in a conservation area.

Since 1968, when Knowle was made a conservation area by the former Solihull council, adaptations to houses and businesses in the village have had to adhere to strict guidelines to preserve the character and appearance of the village.

The conservation area focuses on the High Street and the church then extends onto Warwick Road, Station Road, Lodge Road and Kenilworth Road and Kixley Lane.

One restriction placed upon business owners within the area is that they are not allowed to have shutters on the outside of their shops – only on the inside.

The council’s Supplementary Planning The Historic Environment document, which outlines policies within a conservation area, sets out rules for shutters on shop fronts.

It states: “External steel roller shutters are not appropriate for historic shop fronts.

“Traditional wooden shutters give protection and laminated glass and internally set chain-link screens are modern alternatives. Traditional stall risers are an effective deterrent to ‘ram raiders’, as are small shop windows between masonry piers.”

Bev said by having an inside shutter she would be forced to have three shutters installed and these would need to be specially strengthened.

She added: “Shutters on the inside are bulky, ugly and cumbersome, I have one on another of my properties and it looks like a jail.

“I would have to move my whole shop back two feet and empty the shop window every night before I could use the shutter at Blow.”

If Bev had a shutter on the outside of her salon she would be able to have one shutter for the shop.

She said: “I would’ve had a shutter put on years ago but I can’t because of the conservation area restrictions.

“This would be less expensive as only one piece would need strengthening, not three and I would not have to move my shop around at the end of each working day.”


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