Renewed plea against ‘death sentence’ homes scheme in Walsall

Worried residents have repeated a plea to stop their “quiet little oasis” in Walsall being destroyed by a planned new housing development.

Artist impression of proposed new homes on land behind Cricket Close, Walsall. PIC: BM3 Architecture
Artist impression of proposed new homes on land behind Cricket Close, Walsall. PIC: BM3 Architecture

People living in Cricket Close told members of Walsall Council’s planning committee that allowing an access through the cul-de-sac to the new 29 house development could result in someone getting killed.

A planned access to new housing off Cricket Close in Walsall is proposed. Photo: Google

The Walsall Housing Group (whg) application for land off Cricket Close was discussed at Thursday’s meeting – the fourth time it has gone before members following previous deferrals.

Last October, whg lodged an appeal with the planning inspectorate after the committee failed to reach a decision in time. An inspector will decide the matter in due course.

Last year, members said they would refuse the application if the decision remained in their hands due to the negative impact on residents, increased traffic in the close and the added pressure the new Sprint Bus development would bring.

They found the matter back before them due to new data in the Walsall Housing Land Supply earlier this year which showed the authority was under delivering.

But members still voted unanimously against the proposal for the same reasons, despite planning and highways officers recommending approval.

Resident Jane Wilding said: “I’m a Cricket Close original having lived there since it was built in 1979. It has always been a nice little road as it were, many people such as workmen and visitors have commented so.

“A quiet little oasis you wouldn’t expect to find off the busy A34. Why? Because it is a small cul-de-sac.

“I live directly opposite the proposed entrance and many times have wondered how long we would have the view. Now the day of reckoning is here and the land is set to be developed.

“We have no objection whatsoever (to the development) but we all strongly object to the use of Cricket Close for access when there is alternative off the Broadway.

“As it stands, the road is far too narrow to take what would be a vastly increased amount of traffic at peak times where access onto the A34 would be very difficult to say the least.

“Even more so with the introduction of the Sprint and a new bus stop at the entrance.

“Please do not destroy our lovely quiet close. Over the years, our children have played there of all ages, all sports, because it was a safe, quiet cul-de-sac. Very little traffic and existing residents mindful of the set up.

“If this goes ahead with the narrow roads, two blind bends, parked cars, moving vehicles – there would be an accident waiting to happen.

“We will no longer have a safe quiet close. Build by all means but please use a different access.

“Otherwise the view from my window will one day be a serious accident perhaps involving a child. This is not just a death sentence for Cricket Close as it is now but perhaps more seriously, one for a child.”

Committee chairman Mike Bird said: “I would not support this application being approved. I personally see the difficulties created.

“Although it is fair to say the number of trips that would be increased by this development are satisfactory to the highways officers, it’s not satisfactory to the residents that live there because of what they’ve enjoyed over the years.

“That is being taken away. I think it is a real strong argument from the residents.

“We have a planning inquiry and whatever that inspector decides we’re stuck with it. And they have made an application for costs.

“If we lose, we lose. Sometimes you have to stand your ground and say what is right for the residents.”

Ward councillor Nick Gandham added: “I have a business in the ward, I’m there 10 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Whether I’m at my business or doing my street surgeries, I see the issues we face on Birmingham Road. Not just rush hour traffic but throughout the day.

“I believe the residents of Cricket Close do not deserve this. They are fantastic for the local community.”

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