Developers are to hold further public consultation after withdrawing a seemingly doomed planning application to build homes on the site of a former Northfield golf club.
Application for 1000 homes
Bloor Homes made the application to build up to 1000 homes and a community hub on the site of the North Worcestershire Golf Club and course, with space provided for a primary school – although they did not extend to providing the actual school.
After several years of rumours, the committee of the North Worcestershire Golf Club in Hanging Lane declared it had become financially unviable in 2014. Club Chairman Roger Adams said: “To put it starkly, the club is simply unsustainable and we have no option but to sell.”
A sale was agreed with Bloor Homes, on the condition that planning approval could be obtained and after years of uncertainty, the club closed its doors after over one hundred years last March.
Eleventh hour withdrawal
The application – which was submitted after a prolonged period of consultation which saw the submission of a petition and a public protest – looked set to be met with refusal when it was withdrawn on Tuesday, just two days before council planners were make a decision.
In his final report to the planning committee, planning officer Ben Plenty had suggested that the application should be rejected on several grounds.
Not part of city development plans
The site was disregarded as a potential development site in 2012. Further, on approving the city council’s proposed Birmingham Development Plan last year, the government’s Chief Planning Inspector agreed that development of the space was unjustified and should not be considered.
Concerns have also been expressed about the effects of such a large scale development on the wildlife, ecology and geology of the site, along with the strain on local infrastructure.
There was also some doubt as to whether developers were fully meeting compensatory measures regarding demand for school places and the loss of a sporting facility.
Developers consult for new proposal
Despite this, Bloor Homes have continued to push forward with their proposals and have stated that they will resubmit new plans after a further period of public consultation.
A spokesman for Bloor Homes said: “Bloor Homes are committed to the delivery of much needed housing within the City boundary. We have taken the decision to withdraw the current application and will shortly submit a new application which addresses the concerns raised by the City Council officers.”
However, Longbridge Ward Councillor Cllr Andy Cartwright (Labour) said: “We are saying no to any housing on the site due to what has already been planned and built by St Modwens and Kier plus other house builders locally. This was never in the Longbridge Area Action Plan and it has been confirmed that this would cause chaos and mayhem.
“Our community would not take this infrastructure the planning of the roads and impact on the direct houses would be dire. Longbridge is having its fair share of new homes. There is no infrastructure for schools or medical support and the list goes on” he added.
Independent Longbridge Councillor Ian Cruise said: “Whilst I am pleased Bloor Homes have withdrawn the Planning Application[…] I’m at a loss why Bloor Homes are still pursuing this site for development as it does not figure in the Birmingham Development Plan approved by the Inspector and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
Cllr Cruise has appealed to Bloor Homes to ‘refrain from consulting’ further. He said: “It is disingenuous and wrong to persistently bombard the residents in the local area saying Bloor Homes are still going to build on the site, when it is the policy of the Council to reject any planning application on the grounds mentioned above. Bloor Homes must refrain from consulting on a development that is not going to happen as they can be assured I will continue to oppose any application they submit”.
And Cllr Cartwright has appealed to shareholders in the golf club to consider alternatives to the sale to Bloor Homes. He said: “I really would like to ask the owners of the club to reconsider and think of the impact on local people if they sell to Bloor. I hope they can step back and now look at other options and potential buyers.”
Cllr Cartwright has set up a petition against the development which you can sign here
Consultation: Bloor will be presenting new proposals at a public consultation event at the Hollymoor Centre on Thursday 16th March between 1-7.30pm where you can view the new plans and submit your views, for or against the development.