PLANS to build almost 90 homes at the Birmingham and Solihull Rugby Club ground have been thrown out by the borough council.
Wednesday night’s decision is a major blow to the club - which was relying on cash from the development to fund a ground share with Solihull Moors FC.
But those residents who campaigned against the proposals were immensely relieved by the outcome.
The planning sub committee voted unanimously to reject the application to build the 87 dwellings at Sharmans Cross Road - citing the lack of affordable housing.
Opponents and supporters alike had descended on the Council House to see the arguments thrashed out in front of committee members.
Before discussions turned to the rugby ground, councillors first considered plans to upgrade the Moors’ home at Damson Park - with a view to the Bees and Moors sharing the new facilities.
The face-lift, which would include the creation of an all-weather sports pitch, was given the green light. But the plan was to fund the scheme through a second application - the building of homes on Bees’ current ground.
Bees explained that the project would secure the future of both clubs and provide new facilities for all the community to use.
But Coun Kate Wild and Coun Joe Tildesley (Con, St Alphege) spoke out against the housing plans. They argued that the scheme would be out of character, increase traffic and ruin the “town and country” nature of the area.
However, it was the issue of affordable housing which swayed the committee.
Pat Montague, chairman of the Sharmans Cross Action Group, said: “Obviously we’re delighted by the decision, but we do feel that it’s not just a matter of affordable housing and that other issues should have been considered.”
Tony Moir, one of the Bees’ directors, told the Solihull News that the club would be looking at the possibility of an appeal.
“Our initial reaction was one of surprise and disappointment,” he said yesterday. “We thought that the case we put forward was an extremely sound one and would provide a wonderful future for sport in Solihull.
“It’s early days. This was was Plan A and this was the plan we wanted to follow. We will have to discuss our options now and decide what line we want to follow.”
Bees chairman Brian Marshall said that the club would press on and projections showed that they would be able to start and finish the forthcoming season.