Protected greenbelt land forfeited for Great Barr Hall restoration

The Great Barr Hall planning application submitted to Walsall Council on Christmas Eve is continuing to cause a stir among local residents, many of whom claim to have not known anything about the two consultation events previously organised by Lapworth Architects and BCG Lakes.

Beacon Action Group is calling into question how the previous consultation process has been handled by the owners, especially when the development is set to change forever the landscape of protected Green Belt and Registered Parkland. An application of this size needs to have been widely consulted with local residents, due to the nature of the enabling works and the subsequent proposed restoration works to the derelict Great Barr Hall on this extremely sensitive site.

Bob Winkle, Chair of Beacon Action Group said: “Many of us want to see Great Barr Hall and the Historic Parkland restored, but at what cost? The proposed £20m restoration works to fund the Hall, requires 57 large houses to be built on the listed parkland and local people need to be given the opportunity to decide if this is something they are prepared to forfeit for the sake of the hall.

“The proposed planning application will see the Hall transformed into a hotel, but having looked at the plan’s, the restoration will not be to the simple original late 18th century design, familiar to those members of the Lunar Society who met there at that time. The current proposal will be the much later modern building, embellished with architectural details that were never part of the original, or later design of the hall, thus adding additional costs to the restoration.

Great Barr Hall early 1800's

Great Barr Hall early 1800’s

“In addition, English Heritage policy states that when restoration works to a listed building is required, it may be funded by what’s termed as enabling development (the building of new houses), however, the benefit of the restoration must outweigh the disadvantages to the local community and residents are struggling to find any benefit in this development whatsoever.

“There will be no access for the local community to the registered parkland and lakes and increased traffic problems due to the 57 houses and the proposed hotel on the already busy Chapel Lane. In addition, there will be also be a feeling of isolation and a loss of open space, due to the construction of a large 6ft boundary wall to be built around the edge of the site alongside Chapel Lane. ”

Beacon Action Group are planning to a hold a public meeting for the local community before the end of January, so that local people have the opportunity to consider  all the facts relating to this development, before they submit their view to Walsall Council.

If you would like to find out more, or be emailed the date of the public meeting you can follow Beacon Action Group on twitter: @beaconactiongrp or check out the Facebook group Beacon Action Group, or send an email to: beaconactiongroup@gmail.com

Or you can access the application online:  www.walsall.gov.uk/planning – reference number: 13/1567/FL and 13/1568/FB

-ENDS-

  • The planning application includes restoration works to Great Barr Hall and the construction of 57 dwellings, which will be built across the registered historic parkland that surrounds the hall and lakes, (with 38 of which proposed along Chapel Lane/Suttons Drive boundaries).

About Beacon Action Group

Beacon Action Group was formed in 1983 by local residents to resist insensitive development of the Great Barr Hall Estate.
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