Planning & Scheme of Management
Birmingham City Council removes residents’ rights
[24.08.21] Earlier this year, Birmingham City Council (BCC) issued a revised protocol concerning planning committee site visits. It can be downloaded here.
It had been a long established right for interested residents to be able to address the planning committee whilst the committee were in the vicinity of the proposed development. These were called “third-party speaking rights”.
BCC’s main objection to these rights seems to be that there was a risk of challenge by judicial review if they remain. CRS has been unable to find any recorded instance of a successful judicial review flowing from the exercise of these rights.
The BCC Report said that when considering the new protocol, there had been meetings with Community groups. There had been no meeting with CRS and we were unaware of the changes until they were brought to our notice by our councillor. We have not heard of any other community group who were consulted.
The protocol that flowed from the report now abolishes the previous right for residents to address the committee on-site.
CRS wrote to the council on 27th May 2021 pointing out that this was a significant restriction of residents’ democracy; that it was our experience that residents felt empowered by these rights and the process will be diminished by their removal.
Our objection was passed to Sean Hannaby described as “Interim Assistant Director (Inclusive Growth Directorate)”. He was unmoved by our concerns. The result is that while residents can attend site visits (if they are aware of them) they will be silenced if they try to speak to the committee.
CRS considers this to be a substantial reduction in our rights. It feels as though the Council do not want to be troubled by concerned residents quite rightly voicing their concerns over a development which might significantly blight their daily lives.
Members might wish to communicate their concerns directly to Mr Hannaby.
[26.4.21] Birmingham City Council have launched a Birmingham Healthy City Planning Toolkit Consultation. BCC say: “We want Birmingham to be a health-giving city, a city whose environment and surroundings offer opportunities to improve the health and wellbeing of the population, and to avoid wherever possible creating developments that contribute to neutral or negative health impacts.” Please go here for the information page and here for the consultation page.
[30.12.20] The planning application (reference 2020/08992/PA) for a 20m telecommunications mast on St James Road has been refused. An extract from the BCC Planning Officer’s Final report is given below:
8.1. Prior Approval Required and to Refuse.
Reasons for Refusal
1 Insufficient evidence has been provided to demonstrate that alternative suitable sites have been sought for the proposed location of the new telecommunications equipment. As such the proposal would be contrary to saved paragraphs 8.55 and 8.55 A-C of the Birmingham UDP 2005 and Telecommunications Development: Mobile Phones Infrastructure adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document and the National Planning Policy Framework.
2 The proposed telecommunications equipment would cause less than substantial harm to the character and appearance of the Edgbaston Conservation Area and to the setting of adjacent Listed Buildings by virtue of its siting and appearance. In addition the proposal would neither preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the Conservation Area or preserve the setting of the Listed Buildings. As such the proposal would be contrary to saved paragraphs 8.55 and 8.55 A-C of the Birmingham UDP 2005, the Telecommunications Development: Mobile Phones Infrastructure adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document, Policies PG3 and TP12 of the Birmingham Development Plan, Paragraphs 194-196 of the National Planning Policy Framework and the requirements of Section 66 and Section 72 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.
[28.11.20] We have received the following policy statement on telecommunications masts and equipment from Stephen Richards at Mainstay. We understand that this will be incorporated into the Calthorpe Estate Residents Handbook.
1. Where Calthorpe Estates is approached by third parties regarding the installation of Telecommunication masts and equipment on Estate land, each application will be considered on its individual merits in terms of siting, impact on neighbouring properties and aesthetics. Where appropriate, Calthorpe Estates or its agents will consult with Calthorpe Residents Society and residents, and follow the requisite planning protocol.
2. Where Calthorpe Estates is notified of applications or planning applications by third parties for the potential siting of Telecommunications masts and / or equipment on third party land i.e. adopted highways, Calthorpe Estates will review such applications taking into account the visual impact on the Estate and surrounding properties. However, any representations against such proposals are likely to be restricted to objections under the provisions of the Town and Country planning Acts. Calthorpe Estates is not under any obligation to launch any formal legal representation or objection.
[26.11.20] Update on the 5G 20+m Mast with 6 Antennas, 2 Transmission Dishes, 4 Equipment Cabinets and Associated Works at St James Road – immediately outside the Friends Quaker Meeting House, where there currently exists a garden bench below the tree canopy.
Prior Notification has been submitted to BCC in the past few days. The Meeting House is a Listed Building. Their garden on the St James/George Road corner has many mature trees. This location is residential and close to a nursery.
This application appears to be at odds with BCC Draft Design Guide, Principles Pages 58-59
Design Principle #26: Design of telecommunications infrastructure
In the siting and design of telecommunications infrastructure, proposals must undertake a detailed assessment of all sites within the desired location area, ensuring the least sensitive site is selected. If the selected location is a ‘Most sensitive’ or ‘More sensitive’ location (as detailed in City Note LW-61 of the Living and Working Manual), the assessment must clearly demonstrate and justify why a ‘less sensitive’ cannot be utilised.
The design, location and size of the infrastructure must be a key consideration for all telecommunications infrastructure.
The infrastructure proposed must be of a size appropriate to its surroundings; and be sited to minimise the visual and physical impact on the host building, character of the surrounding area and/or amenity of adjacent uses.
This must be considered singularly and cumulatively, where existing infrastructure is present.
To help mask the visual presence of the infrastructure, proposals must create bespoke, non-utilitarian designs or utilise high quality cladding and/or landscaping.
Further guidance on the design and location of telecommunications infrastructure is detailed in City Note LW-61 to 63 of the Living and Working Manual.
[25.11.20] The City Council has announced an online consultation about its new Design Guide. The consultation will end on 5th February.
The Society will be reviewing and responding as necessary to this draft guide, as it will very likely have implications for the design and planning of new schemes across the Calthorpe Estate. Full details may be found here and here.
The Council has announced nine online presentations about the Design Guide. We would urge members to have a look at these and respond.
The first presentation is on 30th November at 12.30 and will provide a brief introduction to the guide structure and a brief overview of each section.
The Guide has been prepared to help guide the city’s transition into a zero carbon environment, with future investment and developments playing in important role in helping the city to create healthy, high quality spaces and the creation of high quality, people focused places that are resilient, innovative and healthy.
The Design Guide is a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), which once adopted will replace a number of existing SPDs (a list is provided in the back of the Design Guide Principles Document).
The Design Guide comprises a suite of documents that provide design principles and guidance framed around 5 Themes:
> The Birmingham ID
> Streets & Spaces
> Landscape & Green Infrastructure
> Healthy Living & Working Places
> Efficient & Future-ready
[18.11.20] A Planning Application 2020/07339/PA has been submitted to Birmingham City Council for ‘Change of Use’ from Offices at 12 Calthorpe Road to a 123 Bed Hotel + 266 Student Bedroom Accommodation. This would include ‘an extension’ and the associated loss of the mature trees and open space on the Calthorpe Road/St James Road corner, along with relocation of the various bus stops.
Full details/documents/drawings can be viewed on the Council’s Planning Portal Comments. Objections to be submitted to Birmingham City Council before 26 November 2020.
[17.11.20] – Mast update:
The Planning Application 2020/06933/PA for a 20+m 5G Mast + Associated Cabinets – Harborne Road/Embassy Drive [adjacent to Morrisons]: The BCC decision on 27:10:2020 -was “Prior Approval Required and to Refuse”.
There has been so far, no Planning Application submitted for the proposed location of a 20+m 5G Mast and Associated Cabinets adjacent to the Friends/Quaker Meeting House at George/St James Roads. CRS is monitoring this.
To date we have received no response from Birmingham City Council or Calthorpe Estates regards CRS enquiry requesting their Policy Statement concerning 5G Masts on Edgbaston Conservation Area/The Estate.
[07.11.20] We understand that our Councillors have had notification from Sinclair Dalby that they intend applying to put a 5G mobile phone mast outside the Friends Meeting House on St James’ Road. This usually means the planning application will go in imminently. Cllr Alden has objected, but we all need to be vigilant and look out for other applications!
The Quaker Meeting House is a Grade ll Listed Building, in a residential area and in the Edgbaston Conservation Area surrounded by mature trees.
Birmingham City Council has to date refused sites in Carpenter Road [not far from Hallfield School], Edgbaston Park Road [adjacent to a school] and at Bristol/Priory Road corner. A further site is Harborne Road adjacent to Morrisons.
In general we believe these applications to be ill-conceived. They are in residential areas, the Edgbaston Conservation Area, near schools and Listed Buildings. CRS has requested policy statements from Birmingham City Council and also Calthorpe Estates. Their responses will be posted here in due course.
[30.10.20] The University of Birmingham and Bruntwood SciTech are partnering to deliver Birmingham Health Innovation Campus (BHIC) – a world-leading health technologies campus, which will be the only science park in the West Midlands dedicated to health and life science innovation and technologies. Go here for their consultation website.
[11.06.20] CRS is objecting to the installation of a 20 metre mobile phone mast on the edge of the Edgbaston Conservation Area adjacent to 35 Odell Place, B5 7RG.
The application number is 2020/03250/PA. You may go here to enter this number and find all the details.
The image opposite is a simulation of a similar mast that was proposed in Sutton Coldfield.
The Objectives of the Calthorpe Residents’ Society include:
- To preserve the beauty, history and character of the Calthorpe Estate
- To promote high standards of architecture
- To ensure consistency of the Scheme of Management as applied to the Calthorpe Estate
The committee receives notifications of all planning applications for properties on the Estate from Calthorpe Estates and from Birmingham City Council. These are considered by the Planning and Scheme of Management sub group which reports to the Committee at its monthly meetings. The sub group has delegated powers to express our considered views to BCC and to CE.
The CRS committee also acts on behalf of our members by having representation at liaison meetings such as the Selly Oak, Edgbaston and Harborne liaison group where the implications of major schemes are considered.
In 2015, we successfully strengthened lines of communication with major institutions including: Queen Elizabeth Hospital, University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University.
Regular meetings are held with Calthorpe Estates (Mainstay). We are grateful to the Director for his continuing help and support over a range of issues.
Contact may be made with the CRS Committee about planning issues and the Scheme of Management via the Contact Form. If you are not already a member of CRS we should be very pleased if you would join- just £10 per household (see Membership).
We shall continue to work hard to achieve our objectives on behalf of the residents.