FORUM News Page

9 July 2018
2 Station Approach Planning application
(Extract from our July Forum Newsletter)

Since late last year, we have been receiving correspondence from a number of Dorridge residents flagging worries regarding this development. There has been growing concern that what's actually being built is very different in build, design and quality to what was approved by the SMBC Planning Committee in July 2017.  The work has also resulted in loss of mature trees and landscaping that were clearly intended to remain as part of Planning Conditions and to meet SMBC's own Local Plan Policies.  Recently a new Planning Application has been made by the developer requesting approval for the changes.

 

In response, the Forum undertook a detailed analysis of the history of this planning application, being careful to draw on SMBC's documents of public record contained in their Planning Portal. This analysis highlighted sufficient concerns for the Forum to request that the new application be re-presented to the SMBC Planning Committee, with a recommendation that the developer be required to revert to the approved plans and fully comply with all the planning conditions set. 

 

SMBC subsequently contacted the Forum to advise that there was one error in our analysis, where we stated that a tree subject to a Tree Protection Order (TPO) had been removed by the developer.  This misunderstanding arose because it was not clear that the TPO referenced in SMBC's Planning Committee Paper related to a tree adjacent to the development site (whose root area needed to be protected).   

 

We apologise for this genuine misunderstanding and for any distress it may have caused to the developer and SMBC.   

 

The new Planning Application was due to be heard at June's Planning Committee, but has been deferred to July and now to August.

2017

KDBH Forum Response to Planning application Ref: PL/2017/00988/COU, the former Station Cafe/Bar, Dorridge.

From: Jane Aykroyd 

Subject: Re: committee letter

Date: 9 July 2017 at 13:19:36 BST

To: "Councillor Ian Courts (Solihull MBC)"


Hello Ian

 

As promised, a quick summary of feedback from our Web and Facebook posts, as well as from e-mails sent direct to all Forum members living in Dorridge. (Note: it's more difficult to trace Facebook comments back to people actually living in the village; emails sent direct to Dorridge Forum members are more certain in this respect.)

There’s been a high level of interest, generating 84 comments on Facebook and 19 email responses thus far.     This is the type of proposal that affects life generally in the village, and should definitely be open to much wider awareness/input than the few residents directly affected due to it being in a predominantly commercial area.  Respondents have clearly appreciated knowing about the proposals and having an opportunity to input their views - raising community awareness and spirit.

  • By far the biggest driver across all sources is a consistent presumption in favour of the applicant based on knowledge of their existing facility in Knowle.  The Oktagon is generally perceived to be well run, creating a sense that the new ownership is likely to deliver a ‘higher class’ establishment than previous incarnations of the Station Bar/Cafe:  "a quality facility that is likely to be used by more mature age groups than we saw dominate the old Café Bar”.   

 

  • Given the strength of the largely positive response, it's worth noting one negative from Facebook is that parking in Knowle has become a ‘nightmare’ since Oktogon has been there, causing issues for other businesses.  Given well-documented existing issues with parking in and around Dorridge station, this aspect needs particular attention - particularly during the day.  While it may be that ‘it is not expected traffic and parking demand associated with the proposed use would differ notably to that of some consented A3 uses’, the doubling of capacity in this building will certainly exacerbate existing issues.

 

  • Another recurring theme is that re-development of the current dilapidated and ’ugly' building can only be a good thing.

Turning to the e-mails, 8 of the 19 were against, or had concerns about, this development - a flavour of which below:

  1. My main concern surrounds the noise and the mess that was prevalent in the business' previous existence. Bottles, broken glass, cigarette ends and paper littered the nearby gardens and pavements. Not only was it necessary to carefully navigate through the detritus but I also felt that it was quite intimidating to walk past the numbers of people standing drinking outside the premises.
     

  2. Whilst some redevelopment of the Station Bar is needed, the general size of the building is quite big enough and an outside drinking area is not desirable, given the residential nature and protected status of the area; and could attract rowdy punters. 
     

  3. I think this "bar" would be wholly inappropriate for this small space.  Not only will it attract the wrong types visiting by train but there is an hotel opposite with bedrooms overlooking this site.  
     

  4. People arriving in Dorridge when the Solihull pubs close sounds like a potential for noise, disruption, and for us locals the fear that one would expect walking through a city centre around midnight.  Why should the residents of Dorridge have to put up with this.
     

  5. Dorridge is fast becoming an area where folks may come and know there is little police activity in this area.
     

  6. I’m against this proposed redevelopment because it just seems too big and the increased area would obviously encourage even more drinkers. 
     

  7. Another drinking outlet, particularly one it seems is designed to entertain parties into the very late evening seems totally wrong in a suburban area and design wise not in keeping with a conservation area. 
     

  8. I would understand any reservations of residents living above the shops in Station Road whose concerns regarding noise and privacy are those that require sympathetic consideration to minimise the impact.

Since our discussions on Wednesday, I have now had chance to read the ‘Agenda Item 9’ paper in full.

From a Forum perspective:

  • I agree with your view that the opening hours need to be modified, particularly for the terrace and on a Sunday night.  This would assist in managing noise and inconvenience to residents (not just those living opposite the terrace, but also those in the flats above the shops in Forest Court);  it would also reduce the risk of ‘importing’ outside drinkers on their way home from eg. Solihull or Birmingham.  Re the terrace, rather than a 12 months compromise as currently proposed, I would suggest that the owners earn the right to keep it open after 11pm, by proving that they can indeed control noise levels.  

 

  • I am concerned that a number of important points are still outstanding and subject to 'receipt (not review/approval) of amended drawings’.  How will these be reviewed/assessed and by whom?  Will they simply ‘go through on the nod’ once approval has been given, with the potential to change design yet again?  
     

    • One such is ‘potential alterations to the existing garden area located at the junction of Station Approach and Grange Road’, with one of the conditions being to 'secure a hard and soft landscaping scheme.   Maintaining a significant green space between the pavement on Grange Road and boundary wall of the building and surrounds is essential to the open feel of the Conservation Area, breaking up what would otherwise be industrial hard landscaping in the area surrounding the railway.  Maintaining existing green streetscape is one of the important policy considerations in our Neighbourhood Plan, given that this is a distinctive and defining characteristic of our Area.
       

    • An amended drawing for the elevation that fronts Station Approach is awaited - providing more detail in respect of the appearance of the timber boarding.   Given the various incarnations of the boarding to date, I am surprised that approval is being sought prior to this important aspect being finalised.  My concern is that, once approval is given, we will not get to hear of these final details and things will get ‘watered down’ or overlooked.
       

    • The first condition is ‘commencement within 3 years’.   What commitments are we able to obtain to tidy up and maintain the site, at least, in the meantime to make it less of an eyesore. 

Kind regards

Jane

Chair KDBH Neighbourhood Forum

 
KDBH Housing Needs Assessment - findings

Grant funding from Locality (the Government body supporting Neighbourhood Planning) enabled us to commission independent consultants to undertake a housing needs assessment (HNA) specifically for our Area.  Consultants are required to follow a Government-prescribed, standard methodology - so it's 'official'.   For this particular study, they have to take an "unconstrained" view of 'total demand', i.e. ignoring any constraints such as Green Belt, infrastructure etc.  - which are considerable in our Area.  We can choose to commission a separate analysis in the future looking at local constraints to arrive at a final 'realistic' number.

Click on the image to read more

The HNA research undertaken considers Government and local authority housing data, as well as feedback provided by local estate agents. The total number of houses to be built in KDBH is calculated based on us taking a 'fair' share of the Borough's needs - with KDBH representing 9% of Solihull's population.

990 - 1090

KDBH HNA Report

(maximum, subject to assessing 

constraints)

Total house completions to 2033
 (including c. 380 windfall)

SMBC Proposals

1481

 
transport for the west midlands consultation

The Draft Delivery Plan describes the schemes that will deliver much of the Combined Authority's long term transport strategy 'Movement for Growth'.  It

"sets out an ambitious plan to greatly improve the transport system to support economic growth and regeneration, underpin new development and housing, and to improve air quality, the environment and social inclusion".

Schemes proposed for Solihull over the next decade include:

  • extending Midland Metro tram from Digbeth through North Solihull to the Airport / HS2 Interchange

  • improving J6 of the M42 to accommodate users of HS2 and UK Central

  • improved transport between Blythe Valley Business Park, Solihull town centre and the Airport / HS2 Interchange

  • new cycle routes.

A close look at the maps (still subject to change) that include KDBH, reveals a couple of interesting things for us regarding new housing and motorway service stations....

We encourage everyone to read the Draft Plan and make your views known to Transport for the West Midlands.  Click on the image to the left to go to the consultation form. 

 

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