Golf club housing scheme declared out of bounds

North Worcestershire Golf Club

Revised plans for a large-scale housing development on the site of a former Birmingham golf club have been rejected.

Bloor Homes is behind the proposals to build hundreds of new houses on the North Worcestershire Golf Club in Northfield.

Birmingham City Council’s planning committee supported a recommendation from officers that the scheme was too large and did not form part of the designated local plan.

The original scheme, which proposed the development of 1,000 new homes on the site of the course, was withdrawn earlier this year – days before the planning committee was due to consider the plan. The recommendation on that occasion had been to refuse the proposals.

Officers said they were confident that if the housebuilder appealed the decision then the basis for refusal was sound.

The revised scheme proposed reducing the maximum number of dwellings on the site from 1,000 to 950 and reducing proposed development zones from 20ha to 19.4ha.

Bloor would also increase the amount of public open space from 9.73ha to 10.95ha and remove a proposed 3G sports pitch.

Provision for a new primary school has also been revised and proposes reducing the two-form facility to a one-form school but with a greater land provision to allow for expansion should it be required.

However, in addition to not conforming with the local plan, planning officers said the proposals failed to pay sufficient regard to the loss of ecological, arboreal and landscape features.

The original proposals also involved the demolition of the course’s former club house and in addition to the housing, proposed new public open space, a primary school, multi-use community hub, new access points and associated infrastructure.

The scheme attracted widespread opposition for its size, impact on local infrastructure and schools, loss of open space and a likely increase in traffic volumes.

The housebuilder had offered to create 9.73ha of new public open space to compensate for the loss of a large amenity space. An ecology park would have included new wetland areas, grassland, woodland and informal recreation space.

An all-weather artificial sports pitch and equipped children’s play areas were also offered as part of the scheme, although this was criticised as being inadequate in terms of the amenity being lost to the homes.

Bloor had also pledged space for a two-form primary school to help ease the burden on surrounding schools, while the separate community hub could accommodate a church, meeting rooms, GP surgery and changing facilities for the sports pitch.

The 32.35ha site, bounded by Frankley Beeches Road, Hanging Lane, Elan Road, Josiah Road and Tessall Lane, closed in March 2016.