Plans for 59 homes in Great Barr approved despite 128-signature petition

Plans for 59 homes on a former golf course in Great Barr which have been fiercely contested by more than 100 residents have been approved.

The plans from Keon Homes and English Land Limited were given the go ahead by Birmingham City Council’s planning committee – despite a motion to defer the decision for a site visit which was rejected.

The site at Booths Lane, Forger Close, Beacon Avenue, Deer Park Drive and Hall End Road previously formed part of a former golf course and driving range after forming part of a tip site.

The full planning application includes plans for two, three and four-bed houses of two storeys, for affordable rent and ownership, as well as affordable flats set within small blocks.

A report to councillors states landscaping would extend along the south eastern, south western and north western edges of the site where the existing woodland would be retained.

The development would include a new spine road connecting from Beacon Avenue, with the new dwellings and side roads set off it.

The plans have been opposed by Councillor Barbara Dring and Councillor Darius Sandhu of the Oscott ward and Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood.

The council received a petition with 128 names opposing the scheme, as well as 84 responses which “largely object” to the proposal.

Comments describe the development as “unnecessary” and the site as “not appropriate”. One comment states “open space in the area is being eroded piecemeal and by stealth”.

Concerns were raised about the site’s previous industrial use and the “possibility of asbestos fibres in the ground and hazardous materials”.

The plans were approved subject to a Section 106 agreement to secure a sum of £560,800, with eight councillors voting for and three voting against.

The report stated exceptional circumstances justify the loss of open space, including that the site is “underused” and “has inherent problems such as poor physical quality and layout”.

A recommendation to approve from a planning officer stated: “Exceptional circumstances have been demonstrated for the loss of this open space and appropriate compensation provided for its loss and for the provision of POS [public open space] in lieu of on site provision.

“The proposed development would provide a welcome increase in the city’s housing stock both for sale and for rent.

“The development would meet national and local planning policy guidelines and is recommended for approval subject to the conditions laid out below and the requirements of a S106 to secure affordable housing and a sum of £560,800.”

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