Plans to turn Wolverhampton furniture store into car showroom met with opposition

Plans to turn a furniture and electrical store on a residential estate in Wolverhampton into a car showroom have met with strong opposition from ward councillors and residents.

The unit in Glentworth Gardens. Photo: Google
The unit in Glentworth Gardens. Photo: Google

An application to change the use of Ash Beds Direct, situated in Glentworth Gardens near Dunstall – which comes within the St Peter’s ward – has been made to the city council by proprietor Miss Zahira Bibi.

However, the proposal has sparked concerns from all three of the ward’s Labour councillors – Lynne Moran, Obaida Ahmed and Qaiser Azeem.

In her application Miss Bibi said: “I would like to change the premises to a car showroom where there will be staff members on site at all times. There is an entry to the shop at the rear which is big enough for cars to enter.

“I would use that entrance for cars to go into the showroom, whilst the front entrance would remain the same for customers.

“I am only applying for change off usage, as everything else would remain the same. I would also tile the floor and paint the premises.”

In written correspondence to planning officer Stephen Alexander, Councillor Moran said: “As one of the local councillors for St Peter’s ward, I want to register my objection to this change of use application.

“Glentworth Gardens is a heavily populated residential area with a scattering of shops at its entrance. I would be interested to know just how successful the furniture store is, given that this is not a recognised shopping space.

“The more general newsagent/grocery store is likely to be appreciated by residents in Glentworth Gardens and slightly beyond, but I cannot imagine that the same residents will see the need for a car showroom in their midst.

“I note that the applicant says there will be no change to the existing building shape and that cars can access the building from the rear of the row of shops.

“It is worth knowing that residents live in the flats above the shops and I have no doubt they view the rear of their homes as a place of safety and a place to leave their own cars.

“I lodge my objection on the grounds of increased traffic in a residential spot,” she added.

“We should bear in mind the fact that the same small community has the council’s transit site very close by, and we are aware that there is some trepidation about the implications in terms of traffic and noise.”

Councillor Ahmed said: “I would like to add my objection to this application – particularly because of it being situated in a residential area.

“There is already an abandoned building causing fly-tipping next to where this application is located. A showroom suggests excess cars will be added to the mix.

“A car showroom does not fit in with the surrounding residential area. It will be a further blow, with the transit site destroying so many trees and natural green space.”

Councillor Azeem added: “I want to second the thoughts expressed by my fellow councillors in regard to the Glentworth Gardens change of use planning application.

“The grounds of my objection are that this could lead to increased traffic in a residential plot. And this will potentially have an adverse effect on local residents.”

In further written correspondence, local resident Mr Mohammed Jawed said: “I have reviewed the plans and I identified a number of areas which give rise to concern that the application has not been particularly well thought through.

“It is totally inappropriate for the selected location. The plans appear to indicate that a maximum of ten motor vehicles can be accommodated for display in the proposed car showroom.

“There is no confirmation within the application that the existing floor slab or the flooring can indeed accommodate the weight of these display vehicles.

“I don't believe that the unit was designed and built to accommodate the weight of ten parked motor vehicles in a relatively small internal area, nor was it designed to accommodate such very heavy loads being driven across the floor even at very small speeds.

“The plans do not appear to show details for any ramps or dropped kerbs that would be required in order for the vehicles to safely enter or exit the showroom.

“This aspect would need to be clarified as Im not currently aware of the unit having such vehicle entrance/exit measures in place at the moment,” he added.

“I personally do not see how the display vehicles can be parked without sufficient clearance being provided between adjacent parked vehicles or even between the vehicles and the three internal columns that are shown by the plans to be present in the unit.

“There is a risk that any accidental impact with these internal columns may affect the integrity of the building, as the columns may be acting as load-bearing supports for the floor above.

“The internal columns may need additional strengthening work to be undertaken in order to minimise the effect of accidental vehicle impact,” said Mr Jawed.

Council planning bosses are set to make a decision on the application in the near future.

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