Thursday, 20 September 2012

Conservation chief backs Waitrose

A COUNCIL conservation boss has backed a revised Waitrose scheme for Knowle.

Artists impression (new)
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A report to Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council’s conservation advisory committee said the scheme would bring economic benefits to the village.

Plans were submitted last October to build a store on the site of a former bowling green by The Red Lion car park off St John’s Close.

This would demolish five bungalows fronting St John’s Close and re-provide them nearby.

The council has yet to make a decision and the Kimberley Development plans have since been modified.

A committee report by a council officer said: “I am content that the visual impacts of the amended scheme would be adequately and reasonably compensated for by the benefits that the store could generate in visitors to and income for the wider conservation area.

“Further aspects such as local employment and reversing leakage to other centres could produce further benefits and increased spending in Knowle, with a consequent potential for continued or improved maintenance of properties and spaces essential to the special character of the conservation area.”

A smaller roof volume over the two-storey area and staff amenity block was an improvement it said and the block is “not unduly tall” and would be similar to others.

It would be a “large but not excessive building” and there were now more “visual enhancements” it says.

In 2010, the firm submitted a planning application to put the store on the site of the village hall, which would have been provided on the bowling green, but was withdrawn.

The report says: “The current plans show a scheme that would better fit the context and local character of Knowle than all previous submissions.”

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