A DEVELOPMENT slammed as ‘blatant garden grabbing of the very worst kind’ has been rejected amid opposition from residents.
Campaigners gathered more than 350 signatures for a petition against the planning application for 72 Stonor Park Road, Solihull.
The application by developers Donna Savage Planning Ltd proposed the demolition of the garage at number 72 and the erection of five detached houses with a new driveway.
And despite Solihull council’s planning officers recommending the plans for approval, the 93 residents who attended the committee at last Wednesday’s (August 8) meeting celebrated the councilllors’ decision to reject the application.
Campaigners opposed the plan due to the harm it would cause to the surrounding area, nearby homes and gardens.
Although acknowledging the application would ‘fall within the rear gardens’ of numbers 64, 66, 68, 70, 72 and 74, a planning officers’ report to councillors recommended approval because the need for new housing in the borough was more significant.
Guest speaker Helen Mills – who has lived next door the proposed development site for 17 years – told the planning committee meeting: “There is an indisputable human element here.
“As your community we are tired of living in fear of repeated attempts at garden grabbing – this is why the community has come out in force today.
“We would ask the committee to reject yet another application which will damage our community, take away important green space for ever and set a precedent that opens up our much-loved area to cynical garden grabbing.”
Ms Savage, from the developers, said: “Solihull has no such policies to prevent building on garden land.
“I cannot see how any adverse impact would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of this sustainable development.”
Councillors expressed concerns about the wideness of the new drive in accommodating a fire engine as well as the size of the houses proposed and the height of the garage adjacent to number 76.
St Alphege ward councillor Joe Tildesley said: “This will completely and utterly devastate Stonor Park Road for years to come and destroy the family homes of many current residents in the area.
“This development will be totally out of character with the rest of the road scene and this area of the St Alphege ward.
“It is simply a very large piece of garden grabbing. Once these gardens are lost they can never be replaced.”
The report also shows there were 93 objections addressed to the council.
But veteran planning committee member councillor Diana Holl-Allen spoke in support of the application warning ‘garden grabbing’ applications could become much more common.
“We have actually done an awful lot of garden grabbing over the years.
“There was a time when I started on this committee 20 odd years ago that we tried to stop them – and we kept losing.
“And at the end of the day we do have to work in the planning guidelines.
“But we have also got to start building houses and I think it’s (garden grabbing) going to happen more and more.”