Thursday, 20 December 2012

Knowle care home plan refused

THE Old Silhillians Sports Club in Knowle has lost a bid to sell part of its site for a care home to help it “survive”.

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Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council’s planning committee rejected the 60-bedroom plan on Wednesday night.

The Warwick Road club would have got £1.2m towards a £1.5m plan to renovate and extend the Old Sihillians Sports Club club house from the sale.

The plan for the club was approved, however.

A report given to committee members said the club is “suffering from a falling membership where running costs are only just met.”

The plans will “allow the continued survival of the Old Sihillians Sports Club” it said as the new facility would be transferred to a new club, the Sihillians Sports Club (SSC).

This will give it more legal rights to access grant cash, it adds, as it would be a community amateur sports club and not a private company.

But the committee said  “the special case for the building didn’t outweigh the harm it would cause to the Green Belt”.

The care home would go on the site of a house – on Green Belt land near Warwick Road – that is used by association staff, who would move into the new facilities.

It would include a coffee shop, 23 parking spaces and create 68 full and part-time jobs.

A council planning officer recommended committee members approve the scheme.

The report said: “It is considered that the public benefit of securing the future of the Old Sihillians sports ground and its clubs together with arrival of an extra care home provides public benefit and very special circumstances which outweighs its inappropriateness in green belt terms.”

The report says the club house is “run down” and needs re-wiring and better heating and changing rooms.

The plan will see the bar area refurbished and the other half of the building demolished for new changing facilities, about three times the size of previous facilities.

This would provide 14 extra changing rooms and an internal link to the club house. An extra 24 car parking spaces would be provided.
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