20th Jul, 2019

Solihull 'Garden grabbing' plan set for approval despite public outrage

Felix Nobes 7th Jun, 2018

A ‘GARDEN grabbing’ development is set for planning approval despite widespread public protest and a petition signed by 350 residents.

Campaigners and councillors said the application concerning number 6, Alderbrook Road could lead to a developers’ free-for-all across the borough.

The property in question would be demolished to build a block of five flats.

The application was previously scheduled to go to the planning committee last month and was recommended for refusal.

But an agenda report by Solihull council’s head of development management, James Carpenter, for next Wednesday’s planning committee (June 13) has recommended councillors on the committee approve the proposals – subject to conditions.

It is understood the applicant has made minor changes to its proposals.

Conservative councillor for St Alphege Joe Tildesley told us he is 100 per cent behind residents and he and other ward councillors are ‘one on this’.

Those in opposition object to the size and height of the building and argue it is out of character with the rest of the road.

But Mr Carpenter’s agenda report stated the proposed property respects the distinctiveness of the area.

It also says the new development would help with a need for housing supply.

A petition containing over 350 signatures will be presented to Solihull Council next Wednesday.

At least 135 letters of objection have been sent to the Solihull planning department.

Coun Tildesley said: “6 Alderbrook Road, crikey, I’ve certainly never known anything like it during my 11 years on the council.

“For the very first time in my experience, an application has come in to demolish a house to build a much bigger block of flats.

“We always welcome new developments, but over a couple of years there has been some garden grabbing going on in the borough.

“To build a block of flats on Alderbrook Road would completely change the nature of the street.

“And I do fear we would set a precedent – the footprint of the proposed development is absolutely huge.”

The campaigners anticipate around 100 residents will attend the planning committee meeting to register their objections.

The proposals involve the erection of a two and half storey building comprising five flats – the combined total floorspace is 741 metres squared – almost triple the floorspace of the current property.

It would have 10 parking spaces.

Campaigner Rick Paslawski said councillors giving the go-ahead following Mr Carpenter’s recommendation would “signal to developers that they have carte-blanche and would imply the town planners will ignore the views of local residents when assessing planning applications”.

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