KNOWLE residents have slammed a new £3.2million eco-home which has taken shape following long-expected building works.
Knowle Society members and disgruntled residents say they have watched in ‘dismay’ as the luxury property known as Hedge House was constructed on Kenilworth Road.
The two storey five-bedroom detached house with a grass roof and an internal garden will be completed by November, developers say.
Residents opposed the proposal which went to Solihull council’s planning committee in 2013 because it is on green belt land.
Andrew Marston wrote in last month’s Knowle Society newsletter arguing the area needs greater protection against developments of this kind.
He said: “Members who have watched in dismay as the building work progresses on what is known as Hedge House in Kenilworth Road can be assured that we did object to the council’s planning committee at the time the planning application was considered in the autumn of 2013.”
Estate agency The Modern House describes the house designed by architect David Sheppard on its website as ‘one of the most spectacular houses to have been built in the UK in recent years.’
Deputy chairman of the Knowle Society Dave Pinwell said: “There is a great deal of concern about Hedge House.
“It is not an appropriate development for its situation however we are bounded by planning law.
“The scale and appearance of the development in that location did strike the society as being inappropriate and inconsistent with Knowle and the village.
“It looks more like an industrial building than a residential building. It dominates what is a high point in the local landscape.
“It towers over the surrounding fields and houses and its an oversized and not a pleasant looking construction.”
The huge house – hailed as a marvel by some – can fit six double decker buses inside.
Birmingham based developers 10M Group have worked with David Sheppard and BPN architects to make the innovation a reality.
A 10M group spokesperson said: “Hedge House is a very exciting project for 10M Group.
“It’s a property of architectural significance which showcases innovative and locally sourced and sustainable materials.
“Larch felled by the Forestry Commission in Cannock Chase is central to the palette of the house, while the roof will be planted sedum and has solar panels to increase efficiency.
“Hedge House comes about due to planning policy which allows exceptional and innovative new homes to be built in the countryside, and builds on the tradition of large country houses.
“Its design was influenced by historic timber and brick barn structures of the area which sit within open agricultural landscapes.
“Completion of the project is in sight and we’re looking forward to putting Hedge House on to the market later this month.
“Great architecture can divide opinion; Hedge House will be a remarkable home and we’re proud to bring such a significant piece of architecture to such a beautiful area as Knowle and in the West Midlands.”