Steve McCabe MP (Birmingham Selly Oak) has condemned developers who recently submitted plans for student accommodation on Elliott Road, in Selly Oak, for adding a late addendum which shows they intend to more than double the number of student beds.
Developers Watkin Jones submitted an application for a 7 storey, purpose built student accommodation block on Elliot Road 3 weeks ago. Steve McCabe wrote to Birmingham City Council’s Planning Department to express concerns about the proposals and the damage they will cause to the local community.
In the last few days, the developers have added a late addendum to the documents online. The addendum reveals they actually plan to extend student accommodation to 2 further sites on Elliott Road, meaning the number of students will more than double. Concerns have been raised about the transparency and integrity of the planning process if developers are able to conceal and delay information on such a key part of their plans. The proposals would mean closing existing local businesses and replacing them with more student accommodation.
Steve McCabe MP has written to Birmingham City Council, saying the late addendum not only shows a lack of consideration from the developers but also prevents residents from having adequate time to consider the full plans. The local MP has asked for the plans to be considered as a single Planning Application and for the deadline for submitting comments to be extended to allow residents a proper opportunity to comment.
The addendum outlines plans to buy the neighbouring industrial unit on Elliott Road which is currently occupied by Zodiac Stainless Products. The loss of jobs and change to the balance of the community could have a huge impact on the area.
Speaking on the addendum, Steve McCabe said:
“The developers have snuck in additional proposals for further student accommodation next to their current site on Elliott Road. The late addendum is simply an attempt to bypass scrutiny in the hope that if this application is accepted, further applications will be difficult to refuse. We cannot allow the planning process to be manipulated in this way. I sincerely hope Birmingham City Council is going to stand up to them.
“These further plans will more than double the amount of student accommodation on Elliott Road. Not only would we lose valuable economic space which supports local jobs, it would completely change the nature of this small area which currently has a mixture of social housing, private rented housing for permanent residents and students and already has a purpose built student block. Clearly if there are plans to turn industrial units into a student complex, we need a master plan for the whole complex and not just a piecemeal development process.”