Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Knowle Society fears over Four Ashes homes plan

A PLAN for homes in Four Ashes Road, Bentley Heath will add to traffic problems, The Knowle Society has warned, as final plans for new housing in the two villages come forward.

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It said using land by Packwood Close by 2018 “would exacerbate the problems in the area with traffic and the provision of public services, especially schooling”.

The site is set aside in a “draft local plan” for where Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council will allow homes to be built across the borough to 2028.

This also includes plans for more than 200 homes on two fields in Knowle. Four Ashes would have up to 150 homes.

Yet developer Crest Nicholson has put forward a plan for 38 homes at the Four Ashes site, before the plan is agreed this year.

This application must not be decided until the draft local plan is finalised said the society, which said it was commenting as the scheme “will have an impact on Knowle”.

In a letter to the council, society committee chairman Leighton Jones said he was pleased 15 of the homes would be affordable.

But he said people should have the option to own part of the home, rather than rent it from an affordable housing organisation.

He also said he is “very concerned” for plans to put nine of the affordable homes in one block which would “affect the ambience”. They should be spread out, he said.

A maximum 100 homes will be allowed at Middlefield, a field to the back of Arden school, under the latest version of the draft local plan, out for consultation to March (see maps at bottom of story or p152-154 of this pdf).

Up to 115 would go on a field to the back of Knowle Primary School off Hampton Road.

The plan says developers would have to made a “significant” cash contribution so Arden could expand.

This is vital as demand will outstrip Arden’s places available within the catchment area next year, it warns.

The impact on health services from the extra homes must be considered, it said.

The society previously raised fears over the three housing plans, saying they would put “severe increased pressure on the infrastructure of Knowle”.

It backed development at Four Ashes only.



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