Tempers flare at meeting over flats Smethwick conversion

Tempers flared at a Sandwell planning committee meeting as councillors, residents and agents traded barbs over a flat conversion.

Sandon Road where the apartment conversion is taking place
Sandon Road where the apartment conversion is taking place

Mr Imran Ali of 130 & 132 Sandon Road, Smethwick, applied for permission to enlarge a set of flats but councillors were forced to step in after Mr Ali's agent shot down a neighbour’s concerns.

At the meeting on Wednesday one of the neighbours, who lives next door, claimed she’d “had enough” and would be forced to “call the police” if trespassing and other issues continued.

The neighbour said: “He’s had scaffolding put up…we’ve actually caught the scaffolders in our back garden. If any of these builders or scaffolders do come on our property, which I’m getting fed up of, I’m going to get the police because I’ve had enough.

She added: “He’s also damaged all the fencing in between us and them. He didn’t even put it back so it’d be safe. The dog got out and my granddaughter got hurt because she followed the dog which I don’t think is fair.”

“He’s also having fires during the day and we’re in a no-smoke zone and he’s got a loft window which faces our property. He can also look into my eight-year-old granddaughters’ bedroom.”

In response to the comments to the commttee, Mr Ali's agent suggested “none of these statements are planning issues”. He also said, much to the dislike of councillors in the room, that he felt “let down by the planning department”.

The agent said: “None of those statements are actually planning considerations. I feel sad that we’ve had to come to committee today.

“I feel let down by the planning department by the fact that we’ve had to come here today.

The comments from the agent were a particular thorn in the side of one councillor who said: “I don’t like the attitude of the agent. I’m just fed up of retrospective applications coming around with no consideration for the residents nearby who have got great concerns and justifiable concerns.”

Councillors unanimously voted for a site visit after one neighbour raised concerns about an unglazed upstairs window, despite the applicant receiving instructions to get it sorted.

Councillor Ellen Fenton said: “We’ve got residents that have been obviously raising objections…they have been completely ignored and dismissed. And then we’ve got an agent that argues with our officers who are actually trying to give the applicant what they want.

“I’d like to arrange for someone who works in the building regulations to come with us so that we can be assured that everything there is above board because, at this point in the game, I’m not sure it is. A second ago, that was glazed. Now it’s going to be glazed. It makes no sense to me chair.”

ByJoshua Horritt, Local Democracy Reporter

Most Read

Most Read

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News