Express & Star

Plan to build flats next to former Rowley Rag quarry

A plan to build more flats next to a huge estate at a former quarry has been put forward to Sandwell Council.

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The entrance to the former Edwin Richards Quarry off Portway Road in Rowley Regis where 14 new flats could be built. Pic: Google

The planning application asks for permission to build 14 one- and two- bed flats off Portway Road next to the former Edwin Richards Quarry in Rowley Regis.

A separate plan by applicant and landowners FCC Environment to build 278 new homes at the quarry was approved by Sandwell councillors at the end of last year.

Original plans for two blocks with 16 flats were opposed by Sandwell Council’s planners before the application was submitted with fewer rooms.

A statement included with the application said: “The proposed development would provide a sustainably located, infill residential development, with a safe means of access, of an appropriate scale to be in keeping with the character of the local area, providing a high standard of environment for futures occupiers, increasing the value of habitats on-site and also addresses energy efficiency with a build helping to reduce carbon emissions.”

Planning permission to build up to 281 homes on the land was first granted by Sandwell Council in February 2018 and then a detailed application, which set out the design of the new homes and the layout of the new estate, was backed by councillors last year.

The homes should be built in the next six to eight years, applicant and landowner FCC Environment said at a planning committee meeting.

The proposals included a mix of one-and-two-bed flats and two-to-four-bed homes – of which just 11 would be ‘affordable’ homes.

David Molland from owners and applicant FCC Environment said that the work to fill the quarry would continue for at least another 25 years but the work was separate from the housing plans.

A multi-million-pound plan to transform the former Edwin Richards Quarry was revealed a decade ago – a scheme that included hundreds of new homes, a waste plant, and a promise to fill the quarry with 12 million tonnes of imported materials across at least 30 years – and the land has long been touted by Sandwell Council as a site for future housing.

The quarry had a more than 100-year history of extracting dolerite, known famously as Rowley Rag and used extensively for building roads, before closing in 2008.