Request to ‘call in’ Hagley Road
The Victorian Society has written to the Government Office of the West Midlands to request that the Secretary of State call in for his own determination the application to build a retirement village on the Hagley Road in Edgbaston.
Earlier this month Birmingham City Councillors granted permission for the Extra Care Charitable Trust to build 240 flats on the Hagley Road site. As part of the plans six important Victorian and Edwardian houses will be demolished.
The formerly grand homes are unlisted but all lie within the Barnsley Road Conservation Area. English Heritage recommended refusal, as did the council's own Design Review Panel and the City Council's Conservation Officer and Conservation and Heritage panel.
'We are requesting that that the Secretary of State call in the application because the demolition of the six houses is contrary to national planning policy on Conservation Areas', said Joe Holyoak, Chair of the Victorian Society's Casework Committee in the West Midlands. 'We are also concerned that undue political pressure was placed on members of the Planning Committee to approve the application.'
The houses now facing demolition include number 324, built in 1895 and the only surviving house in Birmingham by the Arts and Crafts architect, Ernest Barnsley. Two houses designed in the early 1900s by local architect, George Henry Devall will also be lost.
The Planning Committee voted in favour of the scheme by seven votes to five.
'We believe that the buildings should be restored and incorporated within a more sympathetic scheme. These houses are attractive, robust and adaptable and if kept would enhance the redevelopment of the site. A more imaginative and sustainable approach is needed.'
Thursday 20 January, 2011