BEYOND RECOGNITION: Apartments destroying “road of character”
More apartments have been approved on an “upmarket” Solihull street, despite warnings that developers were increasingly targeting the area.
Several councillors had major reservations about the plans to pull down No 38, Dovehouse Lane and build a set of six flats in its place.
They felt it was part of a pattern of development which eventually threatened to change the road beyond recognition.
Although the latest scheme was narrowly approved, after a deadlock at this week’s planning committee had to be settled by the chairman’s casting vote.
Cllr Glenis Slater (Lib Dem, Elmdon) was among those unhappy with what had been tabled.
“I have known Dovehouse Lane all of my life, it was always known for a road of character, it was always a road with smart houses on it.
“It was always a road that was considered slightly upmarket when I was a child.
“It’s very sad to me to see it being destroyed the way it is – one set of apartments after another.”
She feared that the number of complexes would continue to “creep up” gradually, despite arguments there were still comparatively few overall.
Peter Maskell, who moved to the street almost 40 years ago, also warned that the distinctive character of houses that had stood for decades was being chipped away.
“Because the plots are quite large and there are golf course views, builders have started targeting properties for demolition and replacement with apartment blocks.”
He cited similar schemes at Coppice Court and – more recently – Nos 46-48.
“Every application which is successful makes it more likely the next one will also succeed,” he added.
Ward councillors Katy Blunt and Jo Fairburn had also urged the committee to throw out the plans.
“Such developments are undesirable as they significantly change the character of the neighbourhood,” said Cllr Blunt.
The proposals divided the meeting down the middle, with half voting them down and the others – concerned there wasn’t a strong enough case for refusal – going along with officers’ advice to approve.
Chairman Richard Holt, who had to exercise his casting vote, said: “With a very heavy heart I’m going to vote in favour.
“Because I do not think we would be able to defend an appeal if the matter went to appeal and we would be liable for legal costs.”
- A separate apartment block at 172 High Street, in Solihull Lodge, was also given the go-ahead earlier the same evening. A previous version of the plans had been rejected, although the committee felt the revised proposals were an improvement. The application passed by a majority.
David Irwin, Local Democracy Reporter
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