PLANS to redevelop Knowle centre and erect a Waitrose store have been criticised by the Knowle Society who said it would ‘harm the character of the Conservation Area.’
In a detailed letter to Solihull Council, the society laid out its arguments objecting to the plan which would see a Waitrose on the site of the village hall, which itself would be sited on a former bowling green by the Red Lion pub car park.
Nine bungalows would also be demolished and replacement housing erected.
Traders and residents have widely objected to the proposals and the society, which has over 3000 members, says the size and scale of the store are not appropriate for the Conservation Area and to the size of the site available.
It also says the store is too large in regards to the council’s own retail evidence base which shows that capacity exists in Knowle only for a smaller store.
Car parking and service arrangements were also highlighted with fears of traffic congestion and safety issues.
Knowle Society’s planning committee chairman Leighton Jones said: “The society recognises that there is a need for sympathetic enhancement of the area between the High Street and St John’s Close and that there are elements of this proposal that go some way to achieving that.
“However, the numerous and significant concerns that we have over the details of this application mean that we must object to it.”
The society did state that it would happy to work with Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council to create a set of guidelines for any future plans for the area.