Text of letter from the Society to SMBC Planning re. Marina application

The Knowle Society has written to the Head of Design and Development, Mr. G. Palmer, regarding the Stripes Hill Marina application and the text of that letter is reproduced here.

STRIPES HILL FARM MARINA (2009/494)

We are glad that this application will now be considered on the basis of a full planning application, it is important that both marina applications are considered on an equal basis. I would like to reiterate and expand our views of this application as outlined in my letter of 1st August.

We object to this application on the following grounds:-

– The loss of Green Belt land and the impact on the surroundings of Knowle Locks.

This area below Knowle Locks is much appreciated by the residents of and visitors to Knowle. The applicant asserts that the proposed development meets the requirements for being a suitable development in the Green Belt as permitted by the ‘special circumstances’ conditions. Regardless of this, it is our view that it would constitute a development that would cause harm to the Green Belt in an area where its impact would be very obvious.

In addition to the simple fact of its presence, the planned size of the development and the ‘massing’ of the boats and the support facilities are such that they would form a very noticeable development, replacing an area of undeveloped landscape.

– The proposed entrance to the access road off the Warwick Road is unsatisfactory and unsafe.

The location of this entrance is close to the bottom of Stripes Hill. While this stretch of road is subject to a 40mph speed limit, residents and councillors will be very aware that this is honoured more in the breach than the observance. The applicant’s own survey in the transport supporting statement shows that 63% of southbound traffic (coming down the hill) exceeds 40mph and 5% exceeds 50mph. This situation must be acknowledged. The entrance, even with the proposed widening, will not allow a vehicle coming down the hill to move entirely off the road if a vehicle is waiting to exit the site. You will of course be aware that this exit will be used not only for the proposed marina, but also for Stripes Hill Farm and that it lies directly opposite the access to Lansdowne Farm. We propose that a short exit lane is built on the north side of the entrance, where there is space available, to allow traffic to pull out of the running lane.

We now know that permission has been given for the continued use of a building at Stripes Hill Farm itself as storage for imported furniture. This will involve the delivery of the goods by articulated vehicles, which will be using the same entrance off the Warwick Road as marina users. This must necessarily increase the hazard for cars wishing to access the marina site, as these large vehicles will block the entrance, causing cars to stop on the Warwick Road.

– We are also concerned that the promoters of the marina have indicated on their web-site (http://www.knowlelocksmarina.co.uk/facilities.html) that:-

“We also hope to include the following: – Brokerage office and boats to view for new and second hand boat sales – A resident boat hire fleet with booking office”

This indicates a significant increase in the commercial activities on the site, which in itself would change the character of the development. The latter proposal would also indicate a significant increase in traffic flow into the site, especially on Sundays, when the base flow would be highest anyway. It would also go against the statement in the application that:-

“Access: Access to the site will be restricted to marina users only. Gates are to be placed near the entrance to the marina which can be opened only by key fob or by staff on site. The site is not to be made available for access to the general public in order to ensure site security and health and safety.”

(http://www.solihull.gov.uk/PlanAppDocs/2009/0494/0494_site_management_pl…)

We acknowledge the information from the developers that the site will be ‘for marina users only’. However this category will necessarily include visitors who are looking to hire, or have hired, boats thus increasing the number accessing the site, all through the one unsatisfactory entrance. In addition the developers have now suggested that use of part of the proposed chandlery building could be used for exhibitions to be ‘used, via prior appointment, by local groups and schools to promote water safety and marine education’. These all point to encouragement for increased use of the site and therefore the access off the Warwick Road.

– The application includes a statement that residential use of the site is to be restricted to 2 boats for use of staff. If planning permission is granted we would ask that this be made a legally enforceable condition, as mentioned in the above site management plan. There should also be a responsibility placed on the operators of the site to demonstrate to the Council that the condition is being met at any and all times.

I trust these objections and observations will assist your Committee in their deliberations.

Leighton Jones Chairman, Knowle Society Planning Committee

Copy to:-

Councillor Diana Holl-Allen; Councillor Jeff Potts; Councillor Alan Rebeiro

New exhibition on show

Knowle Lodge on the corner of Warwick Road and Lodge Road was demolished and replaced by a large estate of homes built by the Bowser brothers. This exhibition is a fascinating view on that recent history and the dwellings of hundreds of Knowle’s residents today.

DIARY ERRORS!

Please note that the newsletter incorrectly states the time of the Monday 16 November meeting ‘All the World’s a Stage’ as 8pm; it should be 2pm. The Diary also omits the 11am Boxing Day Walk.

Matters discussed by the Trustee Directors in October 2009

A brief report of matters discussed at the most recent committee meeting. Discussion on Society matters is welcomed on the ‘Forum’.

In order of discussion:

1. Update on Knowle Green Community Project – no news to report yet. It is understood that SMBC is investigating ownership of the land.

2. Safe Routes to School project update – Society’s recommendations broadly accepted by the Council – no work in the park, measures for school travelling time speed restrictions and traffic calming outside Arden School. The Society will begin to gather its thoughts on wider cycling options in anticipation of SMBC accepting our offer of assistance.

3. Christmas Lights event – The Police have agreed to the closing of Kenilworth Road only, now that the event will take place further into the church’s grounds away from the road. The police are supportive of the revised proposals. Details to be sorted out on First Aid and lost children assistance and the risk assessment to be further reviewed.

4. Airport Noise Action Plan – It is expected that this matter will go quiet (!) for the next year therefore it will be dropped from forthcoming agendas, to be returned for consideration when changes arise.

5. The problem of Trustee Directors having computer problems when working on Knowle Society business was discussed and a process was agreed in the event that suitable internal self-help was not available.

6. A FULL planning application in respect of the Stripes Hill Marina proposal had now been submitted by the developers – the Society will ensure that its response to this new application is submitted to SMBC.

7. The Environment Committee will now be known as the Natural Environment Committee – this better reflects its remit and accords well with the naming of such functions within SMBC with whom it will have most relationship.

8. The Society’s fiscal year, subscription collection timing and AGM timing were discussed, recognising difficulties of nighttime subscription collection and the short time for examiners to approve the accounts. The matter was noted pending a view of the success of the Standing Order campaign. The possibility of allowing subscription collection at the April publication date rather than the October one was received with some support but no action was taken at this time.

9.Under AOB it was noted that the next Unitary Development Plan would be due in 2011, which is not far away. Heavy involvement by the Society is anticipated.

The meeting ended at 9.30pm

Heritage Open Day – Saturday 12 September 2009

This annual national free event opens buildings to the public which are not normally open to view. This year in Knowle the church tower will be opening for visits. As a contribution to this event, The Knowle Society is making available for viewing some of its archives, in particular its always popular Scrapbooks of Knowle. These are becoming delicate books and are not normally available for close examination.

The Local History Centre team will be showing a selection of the many old scrapbooks from the archives which chronicle Knowle village life from the early 1900s onwards. Some of the very oldest have now been scanned and will be available to view on-screen.

In addition, the current exhibition ‘Henry Tonks, Surgeon & Artist’ born in Solihull, will be available to view and will be so until the end of September.

Both events take place in the History Centre, upstairs in Knowle Library, Saturday 12th September 2009, 11am-4pm.

All Welcome! All Free!