Monday, 24 September 2012

Greswolde flats plan attacked by society

THE Knowle Society has opposed a “monolithic” plan to knock down the Greswolde Garage for retirement flats.

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The conservation group said it has “considerable concerns” about the High Street plan for 28 flats, to also demolish neighbouring Cheshire House offices.

Developer McCarthy Stone has said the scheme will free up a “substantial” amount of homes for families and is close to local services.

The society said the 1932 Art Deco garage is “a key feature of the High Street and one of the buildings that provide variety to the street scene”.

The planned block – of two and three storeys – would “add nothing to the street scene and in being in effect a monolithic block” the society said in a letter to Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, which will make a final decision.

It said: “The car showrooms and servicing business carried on at the garage provides a useful facility for local residents, especially with the recent departure of the Alfa Romeo/Fiat garage on Station Road

“The loss of this would mean that residents would have to travel to obtain these facilities.”

And it said the plan would see the loss of a scheme to turn Cheshire House into town houses.

These are “a type of housing that is in very short supply in Knowle and which would provide reasonably pricing housing for young families as well as ‘downsizers’”.

Three comments on the council’s website also raise concerns.

PJ Davies said:  “The last thing Knowle village needs is retirement housing right on the High Street. Ideally, usage should remain as retail/commercial.

“However, if it is to become residential it should be of dwellings available to all ages.”

He said the planned 24 parking spaces is “insufficient” and the planned access onto Hampton Road is “restricted” by buildings and trees.

He added: “Access from Hampton Road is close to the ‘T’ junction with High Street and this stretch of road is congested most of the day and particularly at peak times.”

Another said: “We wish to oppose the application as we consider the proposed building mass and density is too large for the plot size and does not blend in with the existing street scene.”

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