BAG Chairman writes letter to Editor with important updates for local community on Great Barr Hall planning application

As the debate rages on in the letters pages of the Great Barr Observer, if you happened to miss the Great Barr Observer on 11th April 2014, take a look at the below, a copy of Beacon Action Group Chairman’s letter to the Editor.  Which has some interesting updates on the application…

Dear Editor,

I was extremely pleased to see our local politicians Valerie Vaz MP for Walsall South and Tom Watson MP for West Bromwich East, raise the concerns of local residents in Parliament last week, in a special adjournment debate with the Planning Minister. I would like to offer my sincere thanks to both the MP’s on behalf of all of the local residents concerned with this application, for raising the potential loss of our Green Belt at a national level.

In support of local residents, Beacon Action Group highlighted the application and outlined the many potential harmful effects on the local community and as a result, most of the statutory consultees appear to have taken notice and decided to scrutinise the application in much more detail.  Furthermore, local organisations, groups and residents, who had not been initially consulted, were given an opportunity to comment, which otherwise they would have missed.

It may surprise residents to learn that after the official notice period ended for the application in mid January, over 100 new documents have since been submitted to Walsall Council by Lapworth Architects. Local people will not know what changes have been made to the original plan or what additional plans might include, so the Council must provide a further consultation period at some later date.

The more concerning additions include, the provision of 136 car parking spaces on land adjacent to St Margaret’s Churchyard and along Suttons drive where there will also be coach parking. Obviously there is no concern here for the regular Church services and the weddings and funerals that take place in the tranquility of the Church or those who need to have silence for contemplation when attending the churchyard.

There will also be an additional 40 temporary parking spaces located elsewhere (although it’s hard to see where on the plan), this also includes single file parking spaces stretched along the access road to the Netherhall estate, all of this to try and accommodate an anticipated 650 guests at weekends.

When viewing the planning file for the proposed boundary wall along Chapel Lane that has concerned many residents, I could find no suggestion by West Midlands Police Force that a high boundary wall was required, but the officer did make this worrying comment, “the potential rewards for offenders due to the nature of the properties and the type of residents they will attract and the vehicles they may drive are all added risk factors. My fear is that as well as day to day opportunistic offenders, this site will attract more organised crime gangs who tend to use greater violence to achieve their aim.”

It’s worth noting that Walsall Council recently issued a 10 page letter to the architects on the 20th March identifying a number of shortcomings in the application, which the applicants now have to deal with in their own time. If anyone is interesting in reading this it can be found in the application file, in Walsall’s Planning department which anyone can request to view.

With so many organisations and residents objecting to this application we can’t all be wrong and for those of you who have not yet made up their mind please visit: beaconactiongroup.wordpress.com for help on how to object.

Bob Winkle
Beacon Action Group – Chairman

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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