New homes in Wolverhampton rejected to allow for travellers
Ambitious plans to build 50 new homes on the site of a former historic pool and fishery in Wolverhampton have been rejected – because of the city’s plans for travellers.
Known as Bushbury Pools in recent years, or Showell Pool as it was called in the late 19th century, the land and pool was where Wolverhampton’s first lifeboat was launched on August 27, 1866.
However, an application for outline planning permission to build a mixture of two and three-bedroom townhouses and a ‘village green’ with a pond by Wolverhampton-based J&J Properties Limited has now been turned down.
A planning report outlining the decision states: “The site is allocated in the adopted Stafford Road Corridor Area Action Plan (which includes parts of Fordhouses, Bushbury, Oxley, and Low Hill) for 12 gyspy and traveller pitches.
“This site is the only site allocated for gypsy and traveller pitches in Wolverhampton. Taking into account the delivery of 12 pitches which are committed at Showell Road by 2021, there is a need for two pitches up to 2021 and a further three pitches up to 2026.
“No other sites have been identified to meet this remaining need. The release of this site for general housing would exacerbate the five-year supply position.
“It would seriously undermine the ability of the local planning authority to provide a sufficient housing land supply of gypsy and traveller pitches in Wolverhampton.”
The report adds: “There is no provision in the application for affordable housing, on-site habitat creation or open space and play. Neither is there provision for contributions for off-site provision of habitat creation or open space and play.”
In recent years the site has experienced severe neglect and fly-tipping, which resulted in significant damage to the pond and its fauna and flora.
In 2013 the council granted planning permission for it to be filled in. It is currently screened from the road by trees and shrubbery, corrugated metal sheeting and a metal palisade fencing boundary.
The Showell Road site is allocated for gypsy and traveller permanent pitches in the adopted Development Plan. Planning permission was granted to allow a residential caravan site, including twelve pitches, in 2013.
In 2015 an application was approved to amend the total number of pitches to 17. The council said they did not receive any objections to this from residents.
Despite being marketed over several years, the site attracted little interest, prompting the recent housing application in a bid to bring it back into viable use.
The applicants have six months to appeal to the Secretary of State against the council’s decision.
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