Controversial plan for homes on much-loved green space approved

A much-loved green space enjoyed by children and dog walkers will be lost after controversial plans for new homes were backed by the council.

Sandwell Council’s planning committee gave the green light to a move to build four three-bed houses on a patch of land off Holloway Bank Road on the border of West Bromwich and Wednesbury.

The plan was approved for the green space surrounded by homes in Francis Ward Close despite opposition from neighbours. 

The application received 10 objections before the planning committee met on February 21 – with neighbours saying they would lose their privacy and the new homes would block sunlight. The objectors in Francis Ward Close were also worried they would lose a valuable piece of green space that was regularly used by dog walkers and children.

Sandwell Council’s planners had recommended the move was approved ahead of the meeting – saying that despite residents enjoying the use of the green space, it was actually private land and there was little they could do to protect it. Cllr Jenny Chidley, who represents the Wednesbury South ward, spoke out against the plan on behalf of the objectors. She said:

“It’s a lovely green space, the children play on it, people take their dogs for a walk and it’s going to block out a lot of light.

“You’ve got to ask yourself, would you like that? If you lived there, you’ve got that lovely open space and your properties are facing that. Would you like that there?”

A new entrance would be built from Holloway Bank Road – despite warnings the busy route was already an accident blackspot. The council’s highways department said the risk of the new homes causing more accidents was “low.”

Tina Jennings, who was speaking on behalf of her mom, said the proposed new entrance would add to problems in Holloway Bank Road.

“That road is a really busy road with HGVs thundering up and down it all day,” she said. “There have been numerous incidents, including fatalities and there was one a few months ago where somebody hit the wall.

“It’s difficult to turn out of that road onto the main road as it is, so with another access road it’s going to be impossible.

“I think it was described in the application as unloved, unused and in a bad state. It’s not unloved, it’s not unused and it’s not in a bad state… it’s a nice green space for the community.”

Paul Rees from architects Harper Sperring, the agent for applicant Jonathan Goodsell,  said: “The land is privately owned and whilst we acknowledge it has been used by the residents in the area, this is through no intention on the current owners, the previous owners before the application never fenced the area off. 

“It has been used without permission, for want of a better description, from the landowners.”


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