An interesting planning application came before Planning Committee at our last meeting. It involved the change of empty offices to become ten two bed-room apartments and eight one bed-room apartments. These were the offices of Parkridge, who managed Dickens Heath but went into liquidation around 2007. The offices were next to mixed use units (shops, cafe’s etc.) and also apartments. It seemed at first glance the change of use would be acceptable.
However, one of the criteria for the application was that 27 car parking spaces would be allocated to owners of these new apartments. These spaces would come from existing car parking for the shops and restaurants, as well as current residents of existing apartments. This didn’t add up and seemed unfair to existing residents. However, it became apparent the owners of the offices actually owned the car park and could have enforced no parking at any time on site for far more than the 27 spaces they claimed for buyers of the new apartments.
The report before the planning committee can be found via this link and explains the legal position: http://eservices.solihull.gov.uk/mgInternet/documents/s5280/201493%20-%20REPORT%20BY%20HEAD%20OF%20DEVELOPMENT%20MANAGEMENT.pdf . You will see clearly on the forth paragraph on page 5 the statement by the council’s highway engineers the car park is actually private and could be closed at any time. It also alluded to the potential scenario of far more car parking spaces being taken away for use if the office spaces was sold on to a largish company. The suggestion was that as many as 126 car park spaces would be required for office space the size of the former Parkridge company.
I was still unhappy with the situation, especially when considering the possibility of reducing the number of car to access the shops and cafes on Main Street. However, a win-win has been accommodated through the applicants submitting a planning application to create 17 car park spaces for the public. This application has been submitted but has yet to be determined. I asked officers about the viability of the application and I was assured it has been made and will be acted upon.