Greenbelt homes plan approved in Solihull as planner says 'quite unusual'

75 new affordable homes in Meriden -Credit:Nicol Thomas Architects/Solihull Council
75 new affordable homes in Meriden -Credit:Nicol Thomas Architects/Solihull Council

Solihull councillors have overwhelming backed a plan to build 75 new affordable homes on green belt land. Planners noted how, despite being built on green belt not a single objection had been lodged against the scheme.

Once built, the development on the northern edge of Meriden will provide a mix of social rent, affordable rent and shared ownership homes. On land at Maxstoke Lane, the plans feature homes “from one-bedroom maisonettes to four-bedroom houses”. It was unclear if the scheme would win the backing of Solihull Council's planning committee given the backdrop of a previous commitment to protect the green belt by senior leaders of the authority.

But officers recommended the scheme for approval saying applicant Stonewater - one of the UK’s largest social housing providers - had demonstrated there were very special circumstances. Officers also highlighted in their report to the committee “the site is identified as a potential allocation for residential development in the emerging Local Plan Review for up to 100 dwellings”.

READ MORE: Proposal for 75 new homes on Solihull green belt land to go before council planners

During committee members' debate at the latest planning meeting Coun Edward Fitter asked if there had been many objections to the proposal from residents. Officers replied: “It is a quite unusual application - there hasn’t been a single objection received from any local residents. The parish council didn’t object to the proposal and we haven’t received any negative comments in relation to the scheme.”

Coun Mark Wilson said: “Generally this looks fairly positive. I know this area well.” The councillor said there had been fly-tipping in this area saying potentially housing could stop that happening in future.

The proposed homes in Meriden. -Credit:Nicol Thomas Architects/Solihull Council
The proposed homes in Meriden. -Credit:Nicol Thomas Architects/Solihull Council

Coun Wilson then asked about potential contamination at the site. Officers replied: “There is some historical evidence of a hospital on the site at some point and there is a query whether the site has been used as a quarry. That’s why a contaminated land condition is required and that will need to be looked into further by the applicant.”

The committee voted to approve, subject to conditions, by eight votes with none against, and one abstention. The meeting took place at the Civic Suite on Wednesday, (May 15).

Get breaking news on BirminghamLive WhatsApp

For more stories from across Solihull including BHX, breaking news, politics and what's on, sign up to our MySolihull newsletter