Revised plans for new Solihull High Street bank approved amid heritage protection concerns - The Solihull Observer

Revised plans for new Solihull High Street bank approved amid heritage protection concerns

Solihull Editorial 12th Jul, 2018 Updated: 12th Jul, 2018   0

CONTROVERSIAL plans to demolish a building in Solihull’s High Street to make way for a bank have been unanimously approved after revision – despite heritage conservation concerns.

An agenda report by Solihull council’s head of development management, James Carpenter, was to recommend councillors at yesterday’s (July 12) planning committee approve a previously withdrawn application submitted by Metro Bank.

Given previous concerns from national conservation watchdog Historic England, the applicant amended several aspects of the plan to ensure ‘harm to the character and appearance’ of Solihull’s historic High Street will be minimised.

The building at 119 and 121 High Street is part of the 1960s shopping development and is not listed.

But council officer’s stated the building has some architectural merit and its position in the Solihull Conservation Area made it a heritage asset.

The council officer’s latest report claimed the economic importance of the new bank and the more sensitive amended design outweighed the harm caused to the grade II* listed 15th Century Manor House among other listed medieval buildings on the High Street.

The building is currently an H Samuel jewellers and sits opposite the Manor House, which is used as a tearoom.

Elsewhere on the street, 116, 118 and 120 High Street are listed grade II and dated 1571.

But after a two month consultation process, amendments include limestone cladding, fewer signs, a new column and plans for the historic gables to be flushed with the shopfront.

Council members were unanimous in support of the revised application praising the significant transformation to the plans and the bank’s economic benefits.

Coun Stuart Davis said the bank would bring a ‘big boom’ to Solihull town centre due it being open seven days a week.

Coun Maggie Allen said she was ‘horrified’ when she first saw the plans in May but said the alterations had significantly improved the application.

The council’s business and investment officers in the report stated: “The proposed scheme plays a critical role in the future economic health of the town centre, so from an economic development and regeneration perspective, should be supported”.

The council officer’s executive summary also states: “The proposal (as amended) would still cause ‘less than substantial harm’ to the setting of the Manor House and other listed buildings and to the character and appearance of the conservation area as considered by the council’s conservation officer.

“However, while it was considered the original scheme lay to the higher end of the harm range, it is considered the amended scheme lies towards the lower end of the range; thus the balance against the public benefits offered will bring a different weight to the planning balance.”


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