Residents are “appalled” after the approval of 400 new homes in Blythe Ward following a successful legal challenge to Solihull’s Local Development Plan.
Planners said they had “no alternative” but to approve both Bloor Homes’ application for 220 houses in Cheswick Green and David Wilson’s plans for 71 homes in Dickens Heath last week, in what Cheswick Green parish council chairman Chris Noble called it a “threat to localism.”
It follows their approval of 130 new homes by Catesby Estates on land at Dickens Heath Road last month.
Head of planning, Councillor David Bell, said planners had been forced to bring forward the three sites after a legal challenge to the Plan found a shortfall in the housing supply projected for the next five years.
“The decision was virtually taken away from us,” added Coun Bell.
“It does make a mockery of the phrase ‘localism’.
“I have every sympathy with the residents, I can understand why they are very upset about it. We turned down the Bloor Homes application earlier in the year on two grounds – because of the drainage and because it was premature as we wanted it phased so this area didn’t get it all in one go.
“Sadly, and we certainly didn’t want to be in this situation, the judge has squashed this argument so it’s been brought forward dramatically.
“We do feel vulnerable as a planning authority until the LDP goes to appeal.”
Coun John Windmill, (Lib Dem) said they had been “caught in the grinding cogs of the planning legal process – which, like a steamroller, grinds the individual down.”
A “bitterly disappointed” Coun Noble said the newly approved plans were a blow for localism and residents alike.
“It’s a decision that’s been taken away from local people,” he added.
“It’s the death of democracy in making planning decisions and makes a joke of localism.
“A lot of the residents were absolutely appalled.
“In the last month, the council has been forced to approve over 400 new homes, a ten per cent increase on the three local parishes, which will put massive strain on local infrastructure.”
The Bloor Homes application was granted on the condition that a detailed flooding scheme be brought back to planning for review.