Eco-homes in West Bromwich should be approved says council report

Clifton Lane, West Bromwich
-Credit: (Image: Google Maps)

A plan to build more than a dozen eco-friendly homes on a long-demolished office site in West Bromwich looks set to be approved – despite concerns over a lack of car parking spaces. The application would see 14 two-and-three-bed homes built in Clifton Lane, Stone Cross, West Bromwich by Alpha and Bowerbird Homes – vacant land that was home to Sandwell Council offices before they were demolished in the early 2010s.

The plans were redrawn to include seven two-bed and seven three-bed homes after objections from the council’s highways department over the lack of car parking spaces. A total of 11 objections were made by neighbours – particularly over concerns that enough spaces would be provided.

The council’s planners, who have recommended the plan should be approved by councillors, said the move would provide a “unique” development with “much-needed” homes. Sandwell Council’s planning committee meets on June 26 to make a decision. The council’s highways officers had earlier criticised the move for not providing enough parking.

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They said the initial plans, which would provide 11 fewer spaces than required, could not be supported and the application relied too much on using on-street parking spaces on surrounding streets. The council’s highways officers said using existing streets for parking was “not acceptable” and “developments should not rely on on-street parking to accommodate parking generated by the development.”

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The highways department said previous plans for the Clifton Lane site approved by the council had met parking standards. The council had accepted that visitor spaces could be provided on the surrounding streets, and would be willing to allow it again, but said the majority of spaces needed to be built alongside the new homes.

The council said Clifton Lane is not a sustainable location but Hub Transport Planning, which carried out a parking survey on behalf of the developer, said more than 50 spaces were available within 200 metres of the proposed homes.

The consultants said eight more cars in Clifton Lane and Bustleholme Lane would not have as big an impact as the council was claiming. The council offices, and a doctor’s surgery which remains open today, were built in Clifton lane in the late 1980s.

The land was then bought in the 2010s, with the remaining buildings demolished in late 2013, and the council granted planning permission to build 13 homes on the empty site in 2019. Part of the new road onto the site from Clifton Lane was built in 2022 but not much other work has taken place. The new application boasted an “enhanced” proposal to the homes plan approved by the council four-and-a-half years ago.

The application by Alpha and Bowerbird Homes said the new homes meet many ‘passivhaus’ principles – which are homes designed and built to use as little energy to heat and cool the building as possible. This includes extra insulation, air-tight materials, triple-glazed windows, mechanical ventilation, solar panels and heat pumps. The eco-friendly homes are mostly built in factories and then delivered to the site and lowered into place.