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Solihull Councillor slams glass extension for Meriden Hall as 'worst plan'

Solihull councillors have turned down the plans for the extension to grade two listed Meriden Hall, but they fear permission could still be granted on appeal after English Heritage gave its full backing to the scheme.

An artist's impression of the glass extension to Meriden Hall.
An artist's impression of the glass extension to Meriden Hall.

Councillors have criticised English Heritage for supporting plans for a modern glass building to be built on to an 18th Century hall in the borough.

While councillors have turned down the plans for the extension to grade two listed Meriden Hall, they fear permission could still be granted on appeal after English Heritage gave its full backing to the scheme.

Members of Solihull Council’s planning committee refused planning permission for the extension but approved listed building consent, which gives permission for alterations to be made to the hall.

Chairman of the planning committee, Coun David Bell, admitted the council would be in a vulnerable position if the plans went to appeal.

“There are certainly a lot of strong views on this one,” the Meriden councillor said.

“We somehow have to find a way to make this work. The plans could either be resubmitted or go to appeal.”

At last Wednesday’s planning meeting, councillors criticised the design of the extension, saying it was not in keeping with picturesque Meriden Hall.

“Rome has fallen, the vandals have arrived, springs to mind every time I see this application,” Coun John Windmill (Olton, Lib Dem) said.

“If that is English Heritage, no wonder 45 per cent of the Scots voted for independence.

“This has to be one of the worst applications to have landed in our borough.”

Meriden Hall is used as offices for recruitment firm Pertemps, who want to extend the building to cater for more staff.

A report to the council by English Heritage has raised no objection to the final design, which includes a two-storey office extension with a link to the main hall. The report said: “The design in highly modern minimalist frameless glass will form a strong contrast to the stone-built listed building but, in its simplicity and lower massing, will create a sympathetic and complementary foil to the latter.”

Coun Jeff Potts (Con, Knowle) described the design as an “ugly design attached to a grade two listed building.”

Other members
also raised concerns of how the glass building would appear in the evening when office lights are on.

 

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