Express & Star

'Out of character': Plans to demolish shops to make way for flats are rejected

A plan to demolish a row of shops for flats has been rejected by the council.

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The row of shops on Bearwood Road, Smethwick, developers want to knock down. Photo: Google

The move to knock down the shops in Bearwood Road, on the outskirts of Smethwick, and replace them with a three-storey building was thrown out by Sandwell Council, which called the move “inappropriate.”

The plan would have seen the row of shops, which includes M. A. Hardware, Chad’s Kitchen and Bearwood Mens Hair Cutz, flattened to make way for a new building with space for two new shops and four flats.

Planners at Sandwell Council had a number of concerns about the planning application – particularly the lack of parking.

The council was worried that cars would be forced to use adjoining Richmond Road where parking was already at a premium.

Concerned planners were also worried that approving the plan without any parking spaces would set a ‘dangerous’ precedent and have a “severe” accumulative effect on parking around Bearwood.

As well as the concerns about the lack of parking, the council’s planners said the replacement three-storey building would be too tall and overbearing – saying it was an “inappropriate” size and “out of character” for Bearwood High Street.

An artist's impression of the proposed flats for Bearwood Road in Bearwood, Smethwick. The plan was turned down by Sandwell Council. Photo: Indigo

“Although residential above retail units is a common feature of the street and the principle of the uses are appropriate, unfortunately, design and highway issues make the scheme unacceptable,” the council’s planners said.

“Ideally, the site, including the units to the rear, would need to come forward to form a comprehensive scheme which should be more in-keeping with the surrounding area

“The increase in activity associated with the site and lack of cycle parking provision would result in an increase in on-street parking which would exacerbate existing parking issues and inconvenience other highway users.”

The original plan asked the council for permission to build a five-storey building with eight flats.

These plans were later revised on the advice of the council and the layout was changed over concerns that the building would be poorly lit.