6 March 2015

Development by Stealth

Badly needed new homes on the green belt
 Forgive me, two blogs in one day and the resulting hogging of TheYamYam's front page. Makes a change from Ian Shires doesn't it?!

A couple of weeks ago I was bemoaning what I consider to be the unacceptable face of development in the Croft Conservation Area in Aldridge. Today I'm back on a similar subject.

The back elevation of the new church rooms
I have every sympathy with the Planning Department at Walsall Council. Like every council in the land when it comes to development they have to weigh up and take into account an awful lot of opinions plus unitary development plans, government legislation and the policies of whomever its local political masters are at the time. However, I do sometimes wonder what on earth goes on when recommendations are made in favour of some developments and their design and whether there are different rules that come into play for certain people and organisations.

The front elevation of the new church rooms
Housing is currently a big discussion point with the General Election looming and nobody can deny that we do need to build more homes for ordinary people to live in. You know the sort, two and three bedroomed houses with little gardens, usually in some form of estate type build, for the masses. To make things easier for developers who would have their plans for building on Green Belt land thwarted by ordinary locals who are rather fond of the green lung that surrounds their urban area and the opportunities it gives them for exercise, relaxation and even a little fresher, cleaner air, our current coalition government have made all sorts of amendments to existing planning laws and made up some new ones too. As time goes by there will be many that will regret that we have allowed our green belt to be gradually stolen right from under our noses.

What remains of the 'new' rectory
One such development that was given the green light on green belt is a rather flash 'exclusive' type gated, walled development of enormous houses just at the back of the Parish Church in Aldridge. A lovely spot. Fantastic views. Protected. On Green Belt. Of course Aldridge is crying out for homes of this type because it really doesn't have enough to go round. It is interesting to note that the homes come ready supplied with exterior security cameras just in case anyone wonders off path from The Redhouse. Of course they're not the only homes that have been built in this area in recent times. A precedent was set a few years ago and inch by inch Aldridge is expanding towards Little Aston.

Not two paces away from these much needed homes for the well heeled are the remains of what was the Rectory. It never won any awards for its architecture being a house of its time, the 1960s but it will be replaced and will be joined by more large houses in another exclusive development for those who can afford to pay for the views and the exclusivity and where there was one house, there will be several and another little bit of green in our conservation area will be gone.

Another couple of paces bring us to the new Parish Church Rooms. From the front elevation they are reasonably pleasing and I rather like the use of the coloured glass but the view from the back, from the public footpath, well let's be generous and say not quite as much thought went into this elevation and the fence! Who allowed this fence to be erected in the conservation area?

I'm not against all development at all. What I am against is the stealing by stealth of our green belt in order to provide homes for the more affluent in our society who can afford to pay the premium required because possibly/maybe someone had a very dry palm and the developers, land owners needed to buy them moisturiser. I also object to the lack of thought  by architects and planners in designing and allowing ugly looking buildings that are not in keeping with their surroundings, to be erected in conservation zones.

Rant over...for now.

1 comment:

  1. I am just reassured that our local Politicians fight so hard to be in control of the council and planning departments just so they can prevent developments like this.