Red House Park

Great Barr Observer
Friday 19th December 2014
 
A number of residents in and around the Hill Lane area have contacted me with their concerns about the plans to develop new housing on the site of the Red House at Red House Park.

The historic Grade II Listed mansion has been empty for many years; however, GR8 Space Ltd has submitted proposals to Sandwell Council to convert it into eight two-bedroom apartments. It's fair to say that developers appear to have had their eyes on the site for some time.

Having studied the proposals, part of the existing car park will be lost and a private car park created for residents living in the apartments, with fewer spaces for the public.

In addition, the developer has outlined plans to build six three-bedroom houses, which will front on to Hill Lane, and for which a new separate car park will be created.

As part of its submissions, the developer has stated it would be financially unviable to convert the Red House into apartments without building the six houses as an enabling development. I'm always sceptical about such statements from developers, though.

From some of the residents I've spoken to in the area, the main concerns appears to be about the building of the six three-bedroom houses, loss of public parking and increase in traffic along Hill Lane.

I've worked with the Friends of Red House Park group over many years and we've had to reluctantly accept that there is little prospect of the mansion being brought back into community use because of the cost. This has always been the preferred option.

However, any proposals for the site being brought back into use need to be right for the community. I'm keen to encourage as many constituents as possible to make their views known, either by contacting Sandwell Council's Planning Department directly or getting in touch with me.
 
The views of English Heritage, which have not yet been received by Sandwell Council, will also be key to this application. I've made contact with their regional office this week to ascertain their views.
I am also seeking assurances that we won't see any further development on the greenbelt if this proposal is approved and that public access to the park will be maintained.

At the moment, the application is likely to be considered by the Planning Committee in February. You can submit your views by emailing planning@sandwell.gov.uk, writing to the Planning Department at Sandwell Council, Council House, Oldbury B69 3DE, or telephoning 0121 569 4054.

Alternatively, you can email me at tom.watson.mp@parliament.uk, write to me at Terry Duffy House, Thomas Street, West Bromwich B70 6NT, or telephone my office on 0121 569 1904 to let me know whether you approve or disapprove of the plans.

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