Sunday, 24 March 2013

Approve larger Four Ashes homes plan, council report says

A LARGER plan for homes on a Bentley Heath field should be approved, a council planning officer has said.

Click the headline or link below to read the rest of this story.

Crest Nicholson’s plans for 44 homes off Four Ashes Road overcomes objections over a previous plan for 38 houses, the Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council officer said.

The council opposed that plan and it was thrown out on appeal as it was judged to not provide enough homes to meet council policies and provided too many four-bedroom houses.

But the officers’ latest report says these two issues have now been addressed and the new scheme should be approved (see map here).

And it revealed the developer is has launched a legal challenge against The Planning Inspectorates’ appeal decision on the 38 homes plan.

Councillors on the planning committee will be asked to make a decision on Wednesday April 3.

The site and neighbouring fields is earmarked for 150 homes in council policies on where estates should go in the coming two decades.

The council report says of the latest scheme: “The residential development of the site is acceptable in principle.

“This is in line with a previous appeal decision, albeit dismissed.”

It says: “The application provides for an appropriate level and mix of affordable housing which overcomes the previous concerns at appeal regarding density and mix, which now provides two, three and four bedroom houses.”

The inspectorate threw out the 38-homes plan as it had 29.7 dwellings per hectare (dph) compared to a council policy which demands 30 to 50dph. The new plan would have 34 dph.

It also rejected the plan as it only had four-bedroom homes in the 23 that would be offered on the open market. The rest would be affordable.

Under the new plan, there would be four, two-bedroom; seven, three-bedroom and 16, four-bedroom open market homes.

Some four residents’ letters opposed the scheme with concerns over access onto “very busy” Four Ashes Road, extra congestion and “piecemeal” development of the entire site.

Yet the report says Crest Nicholson allege the Planning Inspectorate “misinterpreted and misapplied” council policy over the dph for the 38 homes plan.

It said the dph is “out-dated” and did not correctly apply the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework, which puts more onus on giving default approval to development.

And it said its 29.7dph means the plan falls within the 30 to 50dph range.

The mix of house sizes should be considered for all 150 homes and across the borough, not just its 38, the developer has said.

The inspector was “factually incorrect” to state the site is within the Green Belt, it added.

A two-storey building with 51 “extra care apartments” for OAPs has been submitted for the adjacent field. No decision has been made by the council.

What do you think? Leave your comments below. No registration required. Posts must abide by the terms and conditions. Report comments at

Click here to get stories by email.


  1. The loss of this last greenfield site within our community would be a tragic shame,our loss would be Crest Nicholson's new shareholders gain .Is this development really necessary for our village which is already at capacity. The prospect of 3 access points onto Four Ashes Road is ludicrous,there should only be one access point at a safer location on the apex of the bend which would allow the safest view.Reading through the councils report,Highways Engineer has no objections,no accidents reported within 200metres! if you increase this distance and include the cemetery roundabout two police aware accidents ,with airbags deployed are known to me.When accidents occur at this proposed partial site development culpability should include this engineer in all claims. The introduction of three storey dwellings is also alien to our rural area and this modern build is completely out of character. A flyer type leaflet was sent to all Bentley Heath Residents stating that most trees etc would be retained but if you check the plans about 150metres of trees and hedgerows(on an east - west axis) within the partial site are to be removed.Distances between neighbouring properties are minimal in comparison to the separation distances within the site. This shows no respect for the neighbours or the area.The only bit of Heath left here will be the totally enclosed recreation ground.Then the coalescence with Dorridge will be completed.

  2. Well said!!!!!:)

    3 storey houses? surely these will be too tall for the area?

    What is the council playing at? I remember when local councils looked after the interests of the local area. Dont get me wrong, I am not against new builds or progress, but why doesnt the council listen to the public any more, and why do they keep giving in to the builders?

  3. "Has Goliath beaten David I assume the legal challenge will now be gone, and respect the saving to our community charge.With the introduction of 10.3 metre high 3 storey dwellings is this in keeping with the character and density in this rural area?.,the site size containing 44 dwelling is comparable to one property opposite is this also in keeping and respecting the character of the area? The term" Natural Surveillance " is used is this the new word for overlooking and loss of privacy? Future generations will be able to look back at this development and may ask does this support our motto "Urbs In Rure" the answer may be yes the planners have certainly moved the" Town into the Country." and put the URBAN into RURAL. The loss of this last greenfield area means new residents from this( sustainable ? ) site will now be able to support our village shops and carry their shopping home across the recreation ground avoiding the use of their vehicles or they may want to shop in Knowle a mere 40-50 minutes away by public transport again avoiding cars journeys.Are the developers going to wait until Arden Academy has capacity available.? Progress leads to so many imponderables"