Councillors throw out ‘sardines’ homes plan for West Bromwich
A housing development in West Bromwich has been thrown out after a councillor said it would "pack people in like sardines".
Members of Sandwell planning committee rejected officers’ recommendations to approve the building of five bed houses and four flats on land at the rear of existing homes on Vicarage and Ebrington Roads.
The housing application was the ninth in eight years and more than 100 residents signed a petition opposing the plan.
An application for two bungalows on the site in 2011 was rejected by the council but granted on appeal and all following schemes were passed but never built.
Councillor Liam Preece, appealing to members of the committee to reject the latest plans, said over the years the number of proposed houses on the 18,200 square foot plot had increased.
He said: “It is a very small site with limited, tight access and to propose to build a number of homes the applicant wishes to on such a small site is in our view unreasonable and impracticable.
“There is a question of the quality of the homes we produce.
“If we continue to pack people in like sardines into small spaces are we really building communities, are we really building a place where families can thrive?”
He went on to say the plans met local guidelines for parking but didn’t take into account visitors would have to leave their cars on surrounding roads.
In response, planning officers told the committee the proposal met the minimum design standards.
They said concerns that access for emergency vehicles was very narrow had been overruled by a planning inspector at an appeal and a third access road had now been added, adding the fire and ambulance services had no objections.
They warned previous separate applications for five and four homes had been granted and had established the site was suitable for nine dwellings.
Despite officers’ recommendations, committee members refused the application saying the scheme was too intensive.