Walsall homes plan fails for the third time in as many years

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Developer Eric Russell had wanted to create four new properties, along with parking and landscaping, on land behind two houses in Lichfield Road, Bloxwich.

But members of Walsall Council’s planning committee was told the proposal was largely similar to a previous one which had been rejected and, therefore, concerns raised then were still not addressed.

A proposal to build five homes on the land was previously rejected in 2021 and a scheme reducing the number of properties to four was turned down earlier this year.

Planning officers said the only change in the current application was to create a ‘home zone’, which would provide shared access for pedestrians and vehicles instead of having a separate footpath.

It was refused for the same reasons as last time, including concerns the development fell within the Cannock Chase Special Area of Conservation Partnership and no mitigation had been offered to help protect the beauty spot.

Other reasons included concerns about the harm the ‘backland development’ would have on the area, highways issues, a failure to provide a segregated footpath, overlooking on neighbouring homes and a lack of space for bin lorries.

Planners also said the homes would not ‘integrate effectively’ with the nearby Walsall Academy and Millfields Nursery School.

Planning officer Oliver Horne said: “This current proposal has remained largely unchanged from previous iterations, therefore the reasons for refusal are similarly unchanged as previous concerns have not been overcome.

“The application proposes a backland style of development of existing garden land which have been entirely disconnected from the linear street frontage.

“The highway authority objected to the proposals as the proposed access to the site is still unacceptable as the alterations to the previous scheme fail to resolve the safety concerns.”

Applicant agent Andy Oates said: “We want to make clear this is not an access road in terms of the connection between the highway and the scheme. It’s a shared private driveway.

“Highways state a segregated footpath is required along this driveway but we note there are numerous local examples where shared private driveways operate completely safely without any segregated footways present.

“In this context, it would be a slow moving vehicle environment and the drivers will largely be residents so they’ll be looking out for pedestrians who live there.”

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