Going for a Wimpey?

Whilst pottering about today, I noticed that the land between the Watermead Estate and Silver Street, near Tesco in Brownhills, had apparently changed hands. I noted last year that Morris Homes - the developers of Shire Oak Close on the former reservoir site at the Southern end of town – had obtained permission to build an estate of 36 homes on the wasteland, formerly set aside for development of retail, entertainment or community facilities.

It's like a huge game of brownfield 'pass the parcel' - to me... to you... Note the Morris Homes sign dumped unceremoniously behind - surely a bonus for the local tatters.

After planning permission was granted, a whole bunch of nothing happened. Rumours circulated that the development was not to go ahead, and the ‘Coming soon…’ sign faded in the daylight. It seems that in the meantime, the site has been sold to Taylor Wimpey, one of the country’s biggest house builders. They’ve since applied for permission to change the development – which will remain pretty much the same in terms of number of dwellings and their specification, but the types will be interposed for those of Taylor Wimpey’s own design, which seems fair enough.

The planning application relating to this change is 12/0066/FL and was submitted on the 24th January 2012. There is no clue in the supplied documentation as to why the site changed hands, although the amount of section 106 funding to be provided by the developer does seem to have been contentious. This is the money that the developer pays out to the authority as part of the deal in order to fund community facilities to support the estate, like extra school places and so on. In the linked document, this is referred to as ‘the planning obligation’. That supporting statement is worth a read – note that Cerda Planning are a consultancy used by Taylor Wimpey, whose name appears on most of the drawings.

What the development will look like should it get built. Note the new mini-roundabout which would be made at the bend in Silver Street. Click on the image to visit the original plan at Walsall's planning interactive site.

I find it a bit odd that the project has changed hands, although it never appeared as an upcoming development on the Morris Homes website, so it always looked a bit questionable. Hopefully, should the application be approved (and there’s no reason to suspect otherwise), construction will soon commence. It may not be what the community was originally promised, but it’s got to be better than wasteland, I think.

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9 Responses to Going for a Wimpey?

  1. warren parry says:

    correct me if i am wrong Bob, but didn’t Morris homes have some major financial problems?
    on the subject of section 106, i was reliably informed that a intense lobby of parliament to rid the builders of what they consider the burden of 106 is in full swing.
    on the subject of the land in question, i used to metal detect it before it was lost to houses, i might just get one last chance to swing a coil over it. found a extraordinary amount of tokens in that area . May be something to do with racing the ponies on there?

    • Hi Warren…

      Interesting you should say that. I had a feeling they were, but could find no mention online. Interesting.

      The Tories consider Section 106 to be ‘Red Tape’ and would rather see developers free to bung what they want, where they want, without the inconvenience of compensating the host community. Section 106 funding has done lots of good over the years, and if the commitment is removed it will be a travesty. But I expect little else from this government, I’m sorry to say.

      I think you could be right about the tokens – there were indeed races there. The only other source I could think of might be the barges using the wharf, but that doesn’t really make any sense.

      Best wishes

      Bob

  2. Grannde Pablo says:

    That tiny roundabout at the current sharp bend on Silver Street will be fun, Plus the Hanson lorries will have nowhere to sleep!

    • Heh! That’s what I thought. Wonder how many folk will buy a house there, then find a year later they’re looking out on the arse end of a huge Tesco delivery bay…

      Best Wishes

      Bob

  3. Andy Dennis says:

    I suspect the delay in house building is a function of the credit crunch, but also of the headlong rush by buidlers to get planning permissions they were never going to build within the three years, even in the good times.

    It’s astonishing how little prospective buyers find out about the surroundings of new houses. Sales staff are not always as infomrative as they ought to be, so buyer beware! At least this development turns its back on the Tesco site, but all that beeping and “attention, this vehicle is reversing” would drive me round the bend.

  4. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    I wonder when the adjacent railway line is planned to re-open to freight traffic?
    cheers
    David

    • It isn’t yet. Won’t be for over a decade I’d say.

      Huge cost to bring that back into service – bridges to build/rebuild, cycle path to rebuild, isn’t going to happen until there’s serious money on the table.

      Although it can be reopened fairly easily in planning terms as the line is classed as ‘mothballed’ thus avoiding much of the beurocracy of reopening.

      Read about it here:

      http://brownhillsbob.com/2009/08/02/train-in-vain/

      BEst wishes

      Bob

  5. martin says:

    Looks like they’ve put the ‘affordable housing’ at the Silver Street end of the development.
    They’ll be the ones snapped up by buy-to-let landlords and the ones that’ll look shoddy and unkempt within a couple of years, like the Bellway social engineering experiment in Blakenall.
    One to watch, for sure

  6. Pingback: Silver Waters. I kid you not… « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

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