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Hard choices

LAST week we, in common with all the householders in Monkspath, received circulars from two estate agents saying they had several clients for our houses and we know when one around hear goes on to the market it is snapped up immediately, proving that Westbury, Bryants, McAlpine and Co know their market.

LAST week we, in common with all the householders in Monkspath, received circulars from two estate agents saying they had several clients for our houses and we know when one around hear goes on to the market it is snapped up immediately, proving that Westbury, Bryants, McAlpine and Co know their market.

What is our council doing to relieve the shortage of housing? There are certainly in the borough plenty of rough grass greenfield sites, all of which would take a few houses. Are the council too afraid recalling that the Conservatives lost their particular seat in 2005 because of allowing the building at the end of Monkspath Road?

On the other hand, with agricultural land fetching £2,000 an acre, land for housing fetches £10,000 an acre.

So if our council did act, not only would they be helping to ease the housing shortage, but they would be filling the council coffers.

Hard choices, but that is what management is all about.

R Drew

Harvington Drive, Shirley

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Green now

IN A recent press article Caroline Spelman (Meriden MP) in referring to the redevelopment of the former Jaguar garage in Hockley Heath stated “Now that back gardens are protected again by the new government’s change in the law, perhaps the developers will look at regenerating more of these genuine Brownfield sites.”

Similarly, Lorely Burt (Solihull MP) lamenting how Solihull had suffered particularly badly from back garden development by virtue of the Labour government’s policy of inlcuding back gardens in the brownfield category of planning stated ‘But now it’s all going to change... on June 9, the new coalition government announced a change to the planning rules to no longer include back gardens in the same designation of planning sites as derelict factories and disused railway sidings... sanity has prevailed.”

On August 18 2010 I attended the planning meeting at which the application to build two houses in the back gardens of numbers 93 and 95 Prospect Lane was to be considered. Local residents had written letters and signed petitions to register their strong opposition to the proposed development and Councillor Joe Tildesley supported them robustly.

He reiterated the fact that back gardens were not now classed as brownfield sites and, referring to quotes made by Mrs Spelman and Mrs Burt, pointed out that the new government had changed the rules such that local planning committees could now reflect the views of local neighbourhoods when arriving at planning decisions.

The chairman of the planning committee, though expressing regret and apologising to the neighbourhood in the vicinity of the proposed development, felt that he had to support approval of the application.

It is my perception that in removing back gardens from the brownfield planning category it is the intention of the new coalition government to free local planning committees from the high risk of incurring heavy costs owing to their decisions on planning applications being reversed by a government inspector subsequent to appeal by the applicant and sadly, because of apparent vagaries in the government’s introduction of the new planning rules, it would appear the opinion of local residents continues to have no relevance when decisions regarding development in their own neighbourhood are being made.

So, despite the no doubt sincere beliefs of Mrs Spelman and Mrs Burt, the back garden development application in Prospect Lane has been approved contrary to the wishes of local residents; where’s the change? I would suggest that in Solihull the might of financial gain still prevails over local opinion ensuring ‘garden grabbing’ will continue unabated.

David Thomas

Yewhurst Road, Solihull

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Handsome is

I AGREE with C Birks of Shirley (Letters, August 13) perhaps P Thomas does have an inferiority complex, with a need to make people believe as he/she does.

I too am an atheist who treats people as they do me, whatever their beliefs.

As I have said before, you do not have to believe in a ‘super human being’ to be a good person. ‘Handsome is as handsome does’ as the saying goes.

I really believe in that.

J Greaves

Stonor Road, Hall Green

 

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