Controversial homes plan for West Bromwich finally approved after nine rejections
A controversial West Bromwich housing development which opponents said would ‘pack people in like sardines’ has finally been given the go-ahead after being rejected for nine years.
Plans for five bed houses and four flats on land to the rear of Vicarage and Ebrington Roads can go ahead after the planning inspector granted an appeal by property developers.
The decision brings to end a nine-year fight by residents who claimed the scheme amounted to an over-development of the 18,200 square foot plot behind existing homes.
In August last year councillors on Sandwell’s planning committee rejected the scheme – the ninth rejection since 2011.
Residents said that despite previous applications being granted, none had been built and the latest plans were too intensive.
But planning officers said it met the minimum design standards.
However, ward councillor Liam Preece described the plans as over-development, saying: “If we continue to pack people in like sardines into small spaces are we really building communities, are we really building a place where families can thrive?”
Following an appeal by Windyridge Property Investments Ltd, the Planning Inspectorate rejected that claim, saying: “I find that the proposed scheme would not represent an over-development of the site or that the number of units would undermine its overall quality.
“Indeed, I consider that it would result in an efficient use of land in a sustainable and well-established residential location in keeping with the character and appearance of its surroundings.”
But the inspector did throw out a claim for costs after the company claimed Sandwell Council had acted unreasonably.
He said councillors had ‘visited the site to make an assessment and the council has substantiated its position on appeal rather than vague, generalised or inaccurate assertions.’
He added: “As a result, it follows that I do not agree that the council acted unreasonably in this case.”