Stirchley – Seven Capital’s outline plans for residential development

Comments sent 29/11/19 to Birmingham planning, application number 2018/10368/PA. Deadline for comments: Sunday 1 December 2019.

To comment: go to the council planning portal at https://eplanning.birmingham.gov.uk/Northgate/PlanningExplorer/ApplicationSearch.aspx  and put in the planning application number in the search box, making sure there are no extra spaces at the end, or you’ll get no results.

1. Commercial outline plans: 2018/10370/PA
2. Residential outline plans: 2018/10368/PA

And if like me, you can’t submit through the portal’s form, then you can email comments (with name, planning number, etc) to : planningandregenerationenquiries@birmingham.gov.uk

I’ve previously written in response to this application with concerns about flooding – the site is almost all paved and housing crammed in. Flooding is a problem in this area and surface drainage is going to worsen. I would like reassurances that this has been thoroughly considered and checked, as the site currently drains though the empty land. Also, there is a lack of green spaces on this estate, tree planting (there were trees on this land previously), and grassy play areas for children, etc. All these would help with drainage and also improve the environment for residents.

A major concern is the social housing element being less than 9%. I want the council to enforce its own targets of 35%. We actively want Stirchley to provide social housing – and not just fodder for landlords and the wealthy. Developers need to be held to account by the council on this front and provide homes for nurses, teachers and other key workers who are being priced out of the city.

87 new homes is really cramming housing into this space and the outline plans look like very basic designs. I would like the council to hold the developer to account for sustainable, eco-friendly homes, and not just give permission for the most basic, cheapest option. The design aesthetics seem to be the lowest common denominator of generic housing estate (similar to the bland Hazelwells) – which at a time when Stirchley is improving its offering and developing its independent unique character is a missed opportunity. We would like the council to push back for better, more sustainable options for the future residents of this area.

With so many new residential properties being built locally, and Seven Capital prioritising more supermarket type retail – why is there no facility for more doctors surgeries, nursery schools, leisure and community facilities, etc, that will service this massive influx? The choice in the outline plans is either retail or residential but Stirchley needs a more rounded offering that will benefit its communities.

Seven Capital has repeatedly said it is engaging with local stakeholders. It has not. Its representatives have not shown up to any Neighbourhood Forum meetings, despite repeat invitations. I am very concerned that they are operating as a self-interest company and not listening to any concerns, except via planning which is reactive not proactive, and capitalises on local comment fatigue with each amendment.

Finally, the fact that the residential element is a separate application means it is (a) getting lost as people comment on the commercial element, and (b) not being considered in conjunction with the commercial element – surely these adjacent areas need planning and comments to be considered in conjunction together.

Regarding the commercial plot – now that Morrisons is taking over the Coop site, is there a need for a supermarket anchor store here? Surely a second supermarket would be better at the other end of Stirchley High Street, where the Magnet is. Also, a retail estate is not a great place to walk through for residents at night to get to Stirchley and back. A proper set of shops (as was partly there before) would be more in keeping with Stirchley’s architectural and independent character.

On the plus side, I’m happy that a gym is planned – we need more social, sports and leisure facilities – not more supermarkets.

Side gripe – the planning portal is difficult to manage. Even a space at the end of the application number will return no results. Also, I did reply to the first residential plans but was not emailed about the amendments. I was only advised of the commercial update. Finally, when I submitted my comments (which took an hour), the ‘requested URL was rejected’ and I was given a support number.

It is pretty unacceptable – how many other comments and objections are being lost as a result? The portal is not fit for purpose and seems to actively encourage people not to find planning or comment.