15th May, 2021

Sigh of relief as controversial Cofton Hackett homes plan is deferred

CAMPAIGNERS breathed a sigh of relief after controversial plans to build a five-storey apartment block and a further 18 homes on a site in Cofton Hackett were deferred.

Developer St Modwen will have to wait to see what happens with its planned final phase of the Longbridge East and River Arrow development site, where more than 600 homes have already been built.

The developer had submitted two separate applications – one for 18 homes to be built on land adjacent to Groveley Lane, and one for an apartment block which would house 150 people.

One estate resident Claire Naughton told Bromsgrove planners on Monday: “The five-storey apartment facing Cofton Park would be unacceptable for locals.

“The proposal is one of developer greed and by recommending the acceptance of this proposal, despite local objection, the council’s planning officer is seeking political expediency, rather than serving the best interests of the community.”

She added it was not in keeping with the rest of the parish, would be better suited to an urban area and there were concerns over the height of the building restricting light to nearby houses.

Lowhill Lane resident Sarah Jones agreed with Ms Naughton and several Bromsgrove councillors that the apartment should be reduced to three-storey.

“Cofton Hackett has a lovely village-feel to it – a five-storey apartment would not be in keeping.

“While there used to be industrial buildings on this site, that’s not a reason to erect a large, unattractive building like this one.”

Coun Janet King added developers should reconsider moving the planned apartment block to the east of the site, towards the railway line.

“This has to be one of the worst layouts I’ve ever seen in my 16 years as a parish councillor and 16 months as a district councillor.”

There were 169 objections and 174 letters to the proposal and Coun king added the urban development was not in line with the council’s Neighbourhood Development Plan which stated impact on local residential amenity should be minimised with careful consideration given to noise, privacy and light.

Other criticisms included the whole development was ‘too overcrowded’ and more homes would increase traffic, density and cause disruption.

Jason Tait from St Modwen said: “This site forms part of the former MG Rover car plant and, since its closure in 2006, has being undergoing phased redevelopment.

“Bromsgrove District Council is under pressure to release green belt land elsewhere, so its important to develop on brownfield sites like this one”.

Both applications will be put back in front of planners at a later date.

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