This is my response just sent to the planning department.
Response to Planning application 13/1567/FL
I write in support of the above planning application for the restoration of Great Barr Hall and the enabling development of 57 homes.
It is easier in cases like this to say no and not think of the consequences of a rejection. I understand the objections of residents on the Chapel Road side, however I believe for the greater good that this application should be allowed.
The history of this land over the decades is a sorry story and we can not turn back the clock and fight the plans of the past. I will give you the positive reasons why the committee should allow this development.
– To restore Great Barr Hall and Land to something like it’s further glory. After speaking to well known historian Peter Allen and English Heritage I am satisfied that this meets their demands. If English Heritage do not back these plans nor would I, that is the key to this development.
– Security for the residents of Netherhall. The owners plan to live on the land and they will secure the land for their own security which can only benefit Netherhall residents who have suffered some grave ASB issues.
– Increased access to the public. The owners have pledged to allow some open days, on private land this is more access than lawfully has been allowed before.
– Secure the Land for the future of the whole area rather than let it fall into total disrepair. Objectors have to ask what should happen if this application fails, this is the last chance. Some objectors may welcome this but the residents of Netherhall and Park Farm would find the ASB increasing dramatically
There is a lack of trust over the Walsall Planning Department and this is understandable given the past. However in this application I believe that we the department can help allay some fears by putting the following restrictions on the development.
– Perimeter Wall to be lowered to 5ft and where possible railings to be fitted and not brick on the Chapel Lane side
– Access to the site for associated construction vehicles to be restricted to between 9AM and 5PM Mon-Fri. Access only to be allowed from the Birmingham Road side of Chapel Lane
– A clear rule that states work on the Hall must be started at the same time as the enabling development. This rule to be monitored monthly and if the Planning Department feel the owners are not rebuilding the Hall the whole development to be stopped
– A clear and precise ruling that no further homes to be built on the land, this to be agreed with English Heritage
To address the objectors fears over traffic we should note the traffic on Chapel lane at rush hour has always been bad in my 25 years of driving I used to have to drive to Stoke for work and if was on the lane any time after 07.15 the wait would be at least 30 mins. The issues of the traffic should be treated as a separate problem and along with Sandwell council I urge a review into the way the traffic is managed onto M6 Junction 7.
The design of this junction is appalling and allows little chance for access from the Chapel Lane side as there is a continual flow of traffic from the Scott Arms. The Lane cannot be closed as a rat run due to the significant impact on the already congested Beacon and Queslett Roads. If the Council can negotiate with the owners on a proper and detailed study in conjunction with Sandwell then we may get a better positive result from this.
This is the last chance to restore a significant listed building which through deliberate mismanagement has been allowed to fall into disrepair and near destruction. Some residents may not appreciate what the Hall stood for but the history of it is clear and this is the last chance for the hall.
A failure to pass this application will live the land open to criminals and affecting a large number of people on Netherhall and Park Farm estates. There would be no alternative plan and this Committee has an historic chance to at least right some of the wrongs of the past.