Monday, 11 June 2012

Four Ashes home plan revised

REVISED plans for 38 homes off Four Ashes Road, Bentley Heath have submitted, as The Knowle Society warns of the impact on Arden school.


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Crest Nicholson has re-submitted a planning application to try and address concerns from Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council about its 2011 plan.

Plots have been changed to allow more on street parking and visitor parking has been moved for some homes. Terraces have also been shortened to three homes.

The homes would go between Four Ashes Road and Widney Road, close to the roundabout by Widney Manor Cemetery.

It comes as The Knowle Society provides more objections to the council – which will have the final decision – over the original plan.

It said a decision should only be taken after Arden brings forward detailed plans on how it will deal with an expected surge in student numbers.

It said: “Future increases in students arising from approvals being given to this and the other proposed future development sites over a relevant period of time will have been met without increasing the current problems which the Academy is now trying to resolve.”

And it raised concerns about cars from the new estate entering and exiting onto Four Ashes Road.


Society planning committee chairman Andrew Marston said: “There is extensive speeding along this section of the road.

“Visibility to/from the proposed access in both directions is restricted.

“When travelling towards Solihull, the proposed access to the site is not visible until well past
the bridge over the railway.

“Similarly, when travelling away from Solihull, due to the long bend in the road the proposed access to the site is not visible until some way past the Widney Road roundabout to the proposed access.”

The field has been identified as suitable for housing by the council in a draft plan of where homes should go in the next two decades.

But Mr Marston said the council should wait until this is confirmed before making a decision on the 38 homes plan.

Yet he backed plans for 15 of the homes to be affordable, saying it will help people remain in the area who otherwise could not afford to do so.

He said this should not reply on cash support from the Government and the homes should be subsidised by the developer, with a shared ownership option.

Residents have left comments on the council’s website opposing the original plan.

Brian Timmins said: “Vehicular access onto the very busy and fast Four Ashes Road will be dangerous.”

Derek Porter said the plan cannot be acceptable as the junction of Four Ashes and Browns Lane was closed in 1987 to stop rat running.

He said: “The proposed new development of 38 homes will bring with it perhaps 50 or more additional vehicles, all of which will have to use Four Ashes Road only a very short distance from Browns Lane.”

He said: “I bought my house in 1985 because of its location and. in particular, the view from the first floor of open countryside stretching across to the houses in Slater Road on the far side of the recreation ground. This would be completely destroyed.”

Stephen Williams said: “The development is over intensive for the size of the plot.

“All the traffic from the development access and egresses on to Four Ashes Road which is a very busy and fast moving road.

“There has been a large increase in traffic flow in the last few years resulting in a serious back-up to the cemetery island during peak times.”

Yet the developer said: “The development respects Bentley Heath’s local character but also moves the area towards a more sustainable future, through a significant increase in housing
choice and community facilities.

“The development will accord with the principles of high quality design and best practice to create a townscape that is rich, varied and sympathetic to its environment. The aim is to achieve a high quality development with a strong identity, activity and a strong ‘sense of place’.”

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  1. Concerned Bentley Heath.19 June 2012 at 20:46

    Very Concerned Bentley Heath.Many thanks to Andrew Marston for his comments and noting of the views on the council website. A major concern of their plan is now the clarification for the removal of trees and hedgerows and reductions of the trees root protections areas some of the trees RPA'S will lose 11% and mature trees may die if they lose only 10% ,I estimate ten/eleven trees and 100 foot or 33metres of Hedgerow will be lost and also the access point neccessitates the removal of a protected tree with serious concerns for the adjacent tree.The safest access point would be nearer the apex of the bend . Also their leaflet to residents states "EXISTING TREES AND HEDGEROWS WILL BE RETAINED PROTECTING THE LANDSCAPE ATTRIBUTES OF THE SITE" also in their leaflet "Careful consideration has been given to scale, density form and layout of the development to ensure that it is character with the local area.' this I find very debatable. In their associated documents and reports are several other debatable points including consultation and this site does nothing to respect the amenities of the neighbours not involved in this application and destroys the open rural feel of the Arden landscape and encircles the recreation ground leading to coalescence with Dorridge. When the need arises I suggest the site should be considered as a whole as intended and not manipulated /cherry picked by this new applicant, indeed it should be returned back to green belt and not as the previous inspector replied when it was taken out previously that Four Ashes Road is a NEATER boundary,if this is not possible it must be returned back to phase three as the resident were informed when the LDF consultation took place in Knowle Library.

  2. Think Station Road is in-correctly labelled in the picture. It should be Slater Road.

  3. concerned Bentley Heath..20 June 2012 at 19:32

    Hello Anonymous, Most of their documentation has inaccuracies ,still they are being paid for their SKILLS
    I hope that Solihull MBC can sort the wheat from the chaff in our rural area and reject this application. But I think they would need considerable local knowledge,and the time to do so,after all Crest Nicholson SW and Pegasus Planning have been trying for accuracy since 2010!! at some cost,never mind they will get it right eventually and in my humble opinion ruin this green space for all time.

  4. The picture was from documents submitted by the developer. Doesn't look good if they can't get the names of the road right!

  5. I would like to invite Mr K Meeson onto this discussion post and ask him to outline his thoughts on this ?

  6. some of the affordable housing on this site will go to people on the council waiting list ,I hope they will have a rural local lettings plan in place so that the homes can be offered to local people or people with a local connection instead of offered to any body on the council waiting list in the whole of the Solihull area including chelmsley wood smiths wood ive lived in Bentley heath for twenty years and my daughter and her husband cant afford to buy a home here but are on the council waiting list and have inquired about these new homes on four ashes but ufortunatley told they will go to the most vunrable and needy meaning drug users people who may have a partner coming out of prison and they need a fresh start,or young moms who are having children returned back to them from being taken into care I hope the people who are going to be spending a fair amount of money on the bought houses in this new forest gate are aware of this.