Waitrose – first steps begun


Visible evidence of the first steps being taken in the significant ‘Waitrose’ development were seen in the car park of the ‘Red Lion’ today, Monday 7th October 2013. The hedge of the former bowling green that borders the car park was being cut down; our photo shows this work with the High Street being on the back left of the viewer.

The works being shown in this photograph are only the initial preparatory stage. It is likely that nothing much else will be done until around Easter next year, as a few final details still have to be agreed.

We understand that part of these works is to move a protected animal species so the development, which has planning permission, can go ahead and that this is a suitable time of year to do so. The Council was well aware of the presence of the animals when they granted planning permission and one of the conditions of approval was that they should be handled in accordance with the law. After consideration of the issues, Natural England has granted a licence for the removal and re-homing of the animals and the work is being supervised by a qualified person.

Update on ‘Village Green’ applications

The current position on all three applications is that the Council has notified all the owners of the land concerned of the receipt of the relevant application. The owners have been asked whether they intend to dispute the claim concerned, whether they intend to submit evidence in rebuttal and, if so, when that evidence is likely to be forthcoming. Reminders about the initial notification letter have also been sent.

At the beginning of July solicitors for the owner of Area A (that from the Wychwood roundabout to the rear of Longdon Road) asked for and have been given a copy of all the evidence submitted in support of that application.

When the attitude of the owners of the various areas of land concerned has been notified to the Council, it will be in a better position to decide how best to consider how to deal with each application. It seems likely that, if there is a challenge to any one application, an inquiry of some sort to determine the issues relating to that particular area is likely to be necessary. It is thus possible that the three applications are each dealt with in a different way and to a different timescale.

An article on the status of these applications also appeared on page 14 of the 2nd August edition of the Solihull News.

Newsletter goes full colour


The newsletter has undergone many significant changes in format in its fifty year life but has previously only dabbled in colour in its so-called ‘mastheads’, the tops of page 1.

It has now finally gone full colour and transformed itself from the former more staid format to a more magazine-like style. This change has been made by the new editor Dave Pinwell who brings with him experience of designing full-colour magazines.

The Society has been incredibly well served by its former printer over several decades and even if we haven’t been always been that fast at delivering the newsletters to our members, he has always been meticulous in delivering a quality product to us on time. Members have frequently been kind enough to compliment us on the quality of our newsletter and we are grateful to Newton Print for making that possible.

We hope you like the new colour and format but of course you may soon be demanding tablet and smartphone versions, so how long will print copies continue? At present we believe that most members would prefer paper copies but there is a steady trickle of demand for copies by email and of course back copies are always available on this website.

Let us know what you think by emailing @knowlesociety.org.uk and prefixing it with editor.

By-pass – drop-in meetings

If you are concerned, as is the Knowle Society, to see the land allocated to the route of the proposed Knowle by-pass being kept as open spaces rather than being released for building – please come and chat to us informally over a cup or tea/coffee and biscuits at Knowle Village Hall on:

Friday 8 March 5pm-7pm
Saturday 9 March 10am-12am

There will be members of the Society present and helpful displays to assist in appreciating the land areas and issues involved. Your comments and expressions of concern on the subject would be really valuable in our exploration of this opportunity.

Matters discussed by the Trustee Directors in February 2012

1. A meeting was expected shortly in which Kimberley Developments will explain to the Society’s Planning committee representatives what steps it is taking in response to the objections raised by the Society to its latest planning application for a Waitrose store et.al.

2. Yorkshire Tea was reported to have made a generous donation of teabags and decorative paraphernalia for use in the Village Tea Party to be held in celebration of the Society’s Golden Jubilee on 5th May.

3. Any Questions? – This event has been oversubscribed, the name of the fourth panellist has yet to be announced. All arrangements with Arden Academy are now in hand for this prestigious event.

4. AGM – Gary Masters announced that he will be retiring at this AGM and therefore there will be a further vacancy for a Trustee Director. The name of a possible new nominee was discussed. It was agreed to continue with previous practice and have a tea/coffee break after the formal business.

5. The two councillors present provided updates on the Solihull Local Plan (the final version to be submitted for approval by the Secretary of State is out for discussion – the Society will be making a submission on the intended advancing of plans to build housing in Four Ashes, Hampton Road and Grove Road); the removal of protection of the Relief Road Line (aka the by-pass land) [*see further detail below]; the Royal British Legion building will be used again for a polling station instead of Arden School; an area of the Borough (not Knowle) will try reducing street lighting hours on an experimental basis; the Conservation Advisory Committee (CAC) will be brought out of mothballs for consideration of the Kimberley/Waitrose planning application – SMBC decision on this application is expected in late March; a free parking period in Borough car parks will continue – the hours are subject to further discussion; Tilehouse Green Lane is due to be resurfaced in the Spring.

6. No 8 Wilsons Road (the last one in residential use in that block) has been approved for conversion to office use.

7. Copies of a report on an aircraft noise monitoring exercise in Knowle were circulated; the Society is pressing for further clarification on the data about flights made at the extreme edge of the allowed corridor where these pass closest to Knowle.

8. Planting of a tree, possibly in Jobs Close (Knowle) Park in commemoration of the Society’s Jubilee was discussed. Details of the Streamside Trust (land by Wychwood Avenue) were explained by one of the local councillors and the Society expressed its continued interest in being able to contribute to the future trusteeship/management of that land.

9, A very successful guided tour of Knowle for a local cub pack was reported. It was recognised that this sort of activity was important if youngsters were to be encouraged to take a future interest in civic matters; the Society being keen to develop a youth interest within its structure.

10. A new committee of the Trustee board was under consideration that would combine the current one-man-bands of publicity, membership, newsletter, distribution and the website.

11. A member had expressed an interest in moving forward the Knowle Green Community Project (the old toilet block) and the Society would be meeting with him to explore his interest.

[* Reasons given for removal of protection on Relief Road Line were: a) The Highways Agency says that it is no longer needed as the M40/M42 have proved to be effective in carrying traffic away from Knowle, b) a by-pass might prevent people from coming into Knowle to shop, c) the route would cut right between residential areas and cut them off from the village centre and d) a by-pass wouldn’t actually be put on that line today anyway.]