PLANS to build more than 570 homes in Shirley have been narrowly approved despite environmental and design concerns.
The application was deferred at a Solihull Council planning committee meeting last month after more time was granted for developers to adjust their proposals.
The previous application was criticised by councillors for the density, unattractive colour and shape of the properties – with one councillor saying it resembled a ‘concentration camp’.
Concerns about drainage and the loss of hundreds of trees were also expressed.
In a tight vote, the latest version of the application from developers M7 Real Estate got the go-ahead for 242 homes and a Nissan car dealers at The Green on Stratford Road in Shirley.
And plans for a further 330 homes and up to 100,000 square feet of car dealerships – including MOT facilities – were also granted outline planning permission.
Outline permission determines the chances of the plans eventually being approved once a fully detailed proposal is drawn up.
Both applications were approved by four votes to three at a meeting last night (February 14).
A packed chamber watched a computer generated ‘fly-through’ video of what the potential development would look like.
Planning officer Kim Allen said: “It’s spacious, it provides a good quality of development.
“You can see the bank of trees which provides a well landscaped and open spaced heart to this scheme.”
She added: “Officers recommend this application to you. It sits on previously developed land, it provides an important quantity of housing and it is policy compliant in all respects.”
But local Shirley resident Delphine Sutton said: “This hybrid planning application certainly lives up to its name.
“It’s a mongrel of a scheme and I am concerned about the affect it will have on our neighbourhood.
“We will lose just over 200 trees. They are part of an undisturbed wildlife corridor behind the houses in Blackford Road, linking to the greenbelt.
“But our main objection is density. We are in full agreement with the majority of councillors who expressed grave reservations regarding the high density of the proposed housing.”
In contrast, Councillor Diana Holl-Allen called the development ‘spacious’ and said: “We will be getting more and more of these developments over the next few years.
“I was very concerned about the style of some of the houses and it’s now looking much neater and I am happy about that.”
Councillor Angela Sandison said: “The main point we thought was going to be considered was the density of the housing proposed, which is far too high.
“What we don’t need is another car dealership, what we do need are pleasant homes with decent gardens in keeping with the Shirley, Solihull area.
“Cosmetic alterations to the colour of the bricks used may make the development look less like a concentration camp but that’s not enough. What we need is a complete revamp.
“Shirley residents deserve better than this.”