PLANS to transform a Grade-II listed Solihull farmhouse into a pub and restaurant are set to be rejected amid heritage fears.
Two applications have been submitted for Tidbury Green Farm, Fulford Hall Road, Earlswood, and both are recommended for rejection by Solihull Council planning officers.
National watchdog Historic England and the council’s own heritage officers have objected because of the ‘substantial harm’ caused to the 17th century farmhouse.
An agenda report prepared for councillors sitting at next Wednesday’s planning committee meeting also states the development represents inappropriate development on the green belt.
An application for listed building consent is also set for rejection due to the proposed development’s ‘excessive scale’ and affect on a ‘significant’ heritage asset.
The plans would see the conversion of the farmhouse, threshing barn and stables with a ‘very large and obtrusive extension’, the report states.
The plans also include manager’s accommodation, landscaping and the formation of access roads and car parking at the expense of a third of the total green garden space.
There would also be an ‘overwhelming’ expansion of the building’s current floor space, the report states.
A total of 30 supportive letters have been lodged while 12 objections received, the report.
Those objecting have cited the unwanted urbanising of the rural village, the loss of green belt and wildlife as well as the damage to a heritage asset.
The applicant Brunning and Price Ltd says that any harm to the building is outweighed by enhancing the long-term survival prospects of the farmhouse. The building would be opened to the public and become a ‘valued community asset’. Around 40 new jobs would also be created.
The very special circumstances to override national green belt policy claimed by the applicant include there being an unmet demand for a pub and restaurant, no alternative sites and the belief there will be no greater impact upon the openness of the green belt.
The report to planners states: “The excessive scale and massing of the proposed extensions would detract from the setting of the listed building and would therefore fail to preserve its significance.
“… Furthermore, no very special circumstances of sufficient merit exist to justify a form of inappropriate development that will be harmful to green belt.”