A SITE left to go to wrack and ruin in the heart of Balsall Common is to be redeveloped.
The vacant ‘eyesore’ at 213 Station Road will now be replaced with a block of 14 flats and two retail units after a scheme was approved last week.
But it was a closely-fought battle at the council’s planning committee who were torn between dislike for the design and the support of local residents.
Councillor John Windmill (Lib Dem, Olton) called the development “incongruous with the street scene” while Coun Jeff Potts (Con, Knowle) said he could not support the ‘unfortunate’ flat-roofed building which would stand out on the predominantly ridge-roofed road.
However, planning chair, Coun David Bell, said residents had been working closely with the developers to improve the ‘square brutalist style’ into something modern and attractive.
“The locals are very much for it,” he said. “I know we’re the planning department and we make the decisions but that should be taken into account.”
Coun Robert Hulland (Con, Silhill) agreed, adding: “Who knows better than the local residents in the area?
“At the moment, there’s literally a hole in the street scene. If they are in support of it, who are we to say no?”
Coun Ian Hedley, chairman of Balsall Parish Council, welcomed the planning approval and praised the developers for taking on board local views.
“The developers have been very good in terms of listening to residents and the parish council.
“The previous owners let it go to wrack and ruin. It’s become an eyesore for years so actually having a development there is a big plus.”
Plans for a mixed use development at the derelict site have been under discussion since 2008 but previous schemes fell through as a result of the recession.