CONTROVERSIAL plans to convert a bungalow into a multi-occupancy home were thrown out by Solihull’s planning committee.
Members agreed that by allowing the development to go ahead, they would be setting “a very dangerous precedent for the borough”.
Developer Charanjiy Gill proposed to convert 1 Beaumont Grove, a detached bungalow, into a ‘house (for) multiple occupation’ (HMO).
There would be no external changes made to the property but inside there would be five separate en-suite bedrooms with a shared lounge/kitchen area.
It is believed that, if allowed, this would have been the first HMO in the borough.
Although planning officers recommended approval of the scheme - as they said it would be no different to a family home - a number of councillors spoke out against the plans. There were 167 letters of objection and local resident Donna Ponsonby spoke up for the local community.
She told a packed committee room that the residents felt “outraged” by the plans in such a private area.
“The plans would set a very dangerous precedent for the rest of Solihull,” she added.
Councillor Kate Wild (Con, St Alphege) agreed, describing the plans as “extremely contentious”.
“The residents are concerned and anxious,” she said.
“Allowing these plans will be dangerous in the extreme for life in the borough.”
Coun Joe Tildesley (Con, St Alphege) rubbished claims that the property would be “just like a family home”.
He added: “This development will do nothing to enhance the quality or attractiveness of the borough.”
Several members also had reservations about the car park, saying it was too cramped for six or more cars to park and manoeuvre, and the future of an old cedar tree on the site.
Summing up, Chairman John Windmill (Lib Dem, Olton), explained that under existing legislation “people power cannot affect the committee’s decision”.
However, he agreed that whatever was decided would set a “very important precedent for the future of the borough”.
Councillors voted unanimously to throw out the plans on the grounds the car park would have a harmful effect on the character of the area and on the living conditions of the residents.
Following the decision Coun Tildesley said: “It is a fantastic result. The committee took on board what we said and delivered the correct response.”