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.

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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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