A controversial planning application has sparked a debate over the future of Alvechurch village centre. Residents are calling on planners to turn down the request from a chemicals company to change the use of 13 Red Lion Street from residential to commercial.
They fear the village centre is quickly losing its homes to business use. In the past year, two homes in Red Lion Street are now either wholly or partly used as commercial premises.
This puts pressure on remaining residential properties in the village and also raises fears of what happens when businesses move on and, perhaps during an economic downturn, the buildings remain unoccupied.
Only eight years ago, this part of Red Lion Street was dilapidated (top right) until it was restored to its current residential glory (right) by Steve Dodd Homes. It is the centre property in this row that is the subject of the current planning application that has prompted more than 200 villagers to sign a petition in protest.
Among the protesters is Ray Hawkins, who lives on the other side of Red Lion Street. He has written to Bromsgrove District Council, saying: “Ten years ago the centre of Alvechurch was in great need of a general uplift. Much work has been done since then which has achieved an admirable and healthy balance.
“I consider that any moves towards reducing the number of residences by turning them into commercial activities that are not open for the immediate day to day benefit of the community are not what the village needs and in the long tern will be to the detriment of the village.”
The application is due to be discussed at the July meeting of Bromsgrove’s planning committee.