120-year-old home gifted to town by famous brewer to become flats

A former Edwardian nurses’ home donated to Smethwick will be converted into flats.

The 120-year-old Edward Cheshire House in Bearwood Road, Smethwick, named after the former town mayor and brewer, will be turned into six flats under proposals by BSSO Properties backed by Sandwell Council.

The decision was made by planners at Sandwell Council despite concerns the conversion did not include enough spaces in an area already struggling with parking issues.

The council’s highways department said the proposed conversion would need at least eight spaces to accommodate the number of people moving in – but the application stated only five would be provided. Despite the concerns, the application was still approved.

A report outlining the council’s approval said the building was near to facilities and the shortfall in parking was acceptable. The planning officer said:

“I note the concerns of the highway authority; however, given the distance of the site to transport routes, local amenities, the provision of cycle storage and its local centre location, I am of the opinion that a lower parking provision is acceptable here and no demonstrable impact on highway safety would occur.

“Given the character of the surrounding area, it is not unreasonable to expect any increased demand due to the minor deficiency of two spaces to be easily accommodated on surrounding streets.”

The council’s conservation officer raised no objections.

The three-storey locally listed building, which was gifted to the town by Mr Cheshire, was sold by Sandwell Council for £450,000 last year. The council had advertised the building as a potential site for new offices, doctor’s surgery, dentist or opticians, educational facilities and flats but said it would not support any plans to convert the building into a house of multiple occupation (HMO).

Edward Cheshire began brewing in Rolfe Street, Smethwick, in the early 1870s before establishing Cheshire’s Brewery in 1887. The brewery was eventually bought by Mitchells & Butlers in 1913. He served as mayor of Smethwick in 1902.


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