I noticed in early summer that someone had been undertaking clearance work on a site near Brownhills, just down the Chester Road to the south of Shire Oak Nature Reserve, and was curious about it. It now seems that my question has been answered.
An application has been submitted to Walsall Council (14/0910/FL) whose jurisdiction the site just about falls within, to build four ‘aspirational’ (read large and expensive) houses on what is described as ‘Former block works site, south Of 370 Chester Road, Walsall’. It’s quite clear that the developers – who don’t own the land concerned – and the Authority are expecting a battle over this.
In the trees on Chester Road, just between the rear of the houses on Castlehill Road and and the next house further up, there is a patch of old hardstanding in what I think was a former quarry. It’s been overgrown for years, and is accessed from a pair of metal gates pictured above.
The application submitted is to build four large houses and garages where the hardstanding is, enclosed within the former quarry site, forming a close, accessed from where the gate is now.
The site is in green belt, and is restricted by a number of things, including close proximity to a listed building. I would imagine vehicle access from the Chester Road will be an issue.
The developers are obviously prepared for a scrap, and this Planning Statement is well worth a read – it cites extensively the public enquiry over an application from 2006 for a ten-house development further down the Chester Road, which Walsall Council refused, the refusal being overturned on appeal.
I’m featuring this issue here for two reasons – the first is I think it could be interesting to watch purely due to the mechanics of the planning process, and I’d be interested in the comments particularly of Andy Dennis, who I know to be an expert on such things.
Secondly, what is the history of this site?
I’ve spoken to a few people, and none seem to be able to remember the ‘block works’ at all. Can anyone remember it?
As an application, I’ve no particularly strong feelings about it, but it does seem rather opportunistic, and I don’t swallow the bull about a lack of ‘aspirational housing in Walsall ‘ which is claimed ‘…would assist with the retention of entrepreneurs within the Borough’.
On that score, this ‘aspirational’ horseshit is being used a lot lately. The Plastic Hippo isn’t having any truck with it, either.
The simple fact is that this is technically a brownfield site – one previously used for industry – which can be theoretically preferentially developed, but to do so they need to get over some tough hurdles.
I shall be keeping an eye on this to see how it progresses. All the documents submitted with the application can be viewed from the links below.
I welcome reader views on this. Comment here, or BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.
Arboricultural Survey and Method Statement.pdf
Design and Access Statement.pdf
Notice Letter – 15-07-14.pdf
Notice Under Article 11 – 15-07-14.pdf
Photographs of the Application Site.pdf
Plot 1 Floor Plans and Elevations.pdf
Plot 2 Floor Plans and Elevations.pdf
Plot 3 Floor Plans and Elevations.pdf
Plot 4 Floor Plans and Elevations.pdf
Site Check Review – 01-08-14.pdf
Site Location Plan.pdf