‘Enormous’ homes to be built on back gardens in Solihull
“Enormous” homes will be built on back gardens in a Solihull street, despite hundreds of objections from neighbours.
The application, approved on Wednesday 3rd October, will see No 23 Alderbrook Road demolished and rebuilt and four other detached houses constructed on land to the rear of No 21-27.
The proposal – which ward councillor Joe Tildesley had branded “garden grabbing of the worst, most blatant kind” – had split the planning committee down the middle.
Scores of residents had packed into the council’s public gallery to hear the debate, which ended with the scheme being approved by a majority of five to four.
Cllr Tildesley (Con, St Alphege) had urged the committee to throw out the proposals, which he said would cause “huge harm” to the neighbourhood.
“I’ve been a councillor now for 12 years. Nobody has ever come to me and begged me to build more four and five bedroom homes.
“Once these gardens are lost they can never be replaced.”
He was also concerned that the developer had already appealed against the decision to dismiss a different version of the plans in 2017, which he said raised questions about which was “the real” proposal.
A report presented to councillors noted that 409 people had put their names to a petition opposing the application and 128 individual objections had been received.
Officers were nonetheless satisfied that the cul-de-sac created would make “an effective use of land, whilst not appearing cramped”.
Nick Blake, speaking on behalf of residents, had challenged the argument.
“This proposal would result in the over development of mature gardens, where the majority of the site will consist of buildings, garages, hard surface frontages and access roads.
“These enormous six-bedroom houses, with disproportionately small gardens, do very little to help the borough’s housing supply, absolutely nothing towards affordable housing and because of the size, scale and massing will be extremely damaging to the character and distinctiveness of this area.”
Glenda Parkes, from Tyler Parkes planning consultancy, had insisted that changes had been made to a previous version of the scheme, which was dismissed in December last year.
“We fully appreciate the reservations expressed previously. The applicant has listened, taken it on board and responded positively.
“Even with this development, just like others that have taken place, Alderbrook Road will still be a good place to live.”
Cllr Angela Sandison (Con, Shirley South) believed the revised proposal was still out of scale and would leave at least one resident “looking at a high brick wall”.
Cllr Jim Ryan (Con, Bickenhill) also spoke against the scheme, which he claimed would damage “the green lung” of the local area.
“People spend an awful lot of time and effort and money creating a garden that they enjoy for themselves and their family and visitors. This savage application will rip that apart.”
However, Cllr Diana Holl-Allen (Con, Knowle) supported the scheme.
“It is a mixed, expensive, very lovely road and I really don’t think now that there is anything more that needs to be done,” she said.
The scheme approved is the latest of several back garden developments which have stoked controversy in Solihull’s suburbs.
During the summer, Alderbrook Road resident Fiona Somerville said: “We live in fear. It is extremely stressful for local residents.”
Read more: https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/local-news/enormous-homes-built-back-gardens-15238337