Thursday, 17 July 2014

Planning Chaos in Selly Oak

While we are glad that the planning committee today rejected an application to turn 101 Hubert Rd into a 10 bedroom HMO we are perplexed that permission was given for its neighbour number 99. This decision underlines the state of chaos with regard to planning rules in Selly Oak. It almost seems wrong to blame landlords for failing to apply for appropriate permission when the guidance from council officers suggests a free for all and the committee itself can't seem to make up its mind. Nonetheless we are grateful to the Committee for rejecting 101 which has already been physically converted for at least 10 bedrooms but will now be restricted to just 6 unrelated occupants. Landlords and their student tenants should be aware that large rented properties need planning permission and that this cannot be taken for granted.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Press release: Council planning officers support Trojan Horse developments

Press release:

Community Partnership for Selly Oak

14th June 2014

“Council planning officers support Trojan Horse developments”

The case of two linked planning applications in Selly Oak highlights a new threat to the Ward and City. In supporting these retrospective applications to retain two properties as large Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMO - large rented properties) planning officers have stated that since the houses were already large HMOs the applications should be approved.

The purpose of a retrospective planning application is to allow the council to adjudicate on a property which has been developed without proper permission. As all such properties will have been altered prior to the application being made, the current state of a property cannot be used as reason to support the retention of the property in that state. If the planning committee agree with the officers and approve these two applications the move could have implication for planning rules across the City. Others may put up extensions and buildings without consent and then apply to keep them using these cases as a precedent.

The officers also say that because the street in question has lots of smaller six bedroom rented properties these applications, for ten bedrooms each, should be approved. How so when the street is subject to planning restraint against increased rented accommodation? Yet the officers would create a new precedent for even larger rented properties that will spread across the Ward and into neighbouring areas such as Selly Park, Stirchley and Harborne.

In Selly Oak we will have a queue of landlords all too eager to exploit these opportunities. We currently see cases each year where owners complete extensions as if the householder or with no permission at all, only to let the property to as many as ten people without obtaining consent. Owners of these “Trojan Horse” properties will be delighted if the City’s planning officers are seen to endorse this dubious practice – unless the planning committee does the right thing and rejects the applications now before it.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Draft Selly Oak Planning Document

The Draft Selly Oak Supplementary Planning Document which will replace the Selly Oak Local Action Plan. Consultation is under-way on this document which will make recommendations for the Sainbury’s Triangle, Bournbrook Recreation Ground and other sites in the Ward. It also contains a section on restraint with regard to houses in Multiple occupancy. You can see the proposals online at and can comment at There are consultation drop ins as follows:

-          Selly Wick Play Group, Raddlebarn Rd, Tue 15th July, 2-3:30
-          Bournbrook Varsity Medical Centre, Alton Rd, Thurs 24th July 9-11
-          Selly Oak Library, Bristol Rd, Sat 2 Aug, 11-1
-          Scout Hut, Gibbins Rd, Wed 6th Aug 5-8pm.

We hope to combine the session in the 6th with a public meeting to discuss the plan but will update on this later this month.

The formal consultation period end 17th Aug.

Remediation work starts on Battery Site

Below is an excerpt from a recent communication from Sainsbury's regarding the Battery Site:

"P.J Carey (Contractors), part of The Carey Group Ltd, has now been appointed as the site contractor and will deliver this first stage of works to transform Selly Oak.

Works will include the remediation and clean-up of land ready for future development, and the diversion of some gas and electricity services.

General hours of work will be 7am to 7pm, Monday to Friday, and 7am to 1pm on Saturdays, with no work taking place on Sundays or Bank Holidays unless otherwise confirmed in advance.

We are committed to keeping the local community fully informed throughout the process.

For your information see the latest press release here

If you would like more information please do not hesitate to contact a member of our community affairs team on Sainsbury’s Freephone 0800 975 5299, or visit"

Please do not hesitate to contact Sainsbury's if you have any concerns about the remediation of the site.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Shanty Oak

Is Selly Oak to be turned into a shanty town? We are concerned by a number of recent planning applications which will see the building of large, brick, "garden stores" in the back gardens of rented properties. The size and style of these stores - which are complete with running water and electricity - make them habitable and we know of a least one property where the garden store is rented as a separate dwelling with its own postal address. Is this good planning policy?

We are also concerned by applications that have been recommended for approval despite including clear planing breaches that have been subject to recent enforcement proceedings including "tear down" notices at other nearby properties. Some consistency is needed in a Ward where developers are known to pay scant attention to planning regulations.

Monday, 7 April 2014

CP4SO Ward Champions for Selly Oak

Cllr Karen McCarthy presents CP4SO with their Ward Champions Certificate. Copyright cp4so 2014.
The work of CP4SO has been acknowledged with their election as Ward Champions for Selly Oak in 2014. This award was made in recognition of our efforts over the Battery Site / Sainsbury's development but we continue to campaign for the ward on all planning matters.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Public meeting and AGM

7th April, 6:30pm. Scout Hut, Gibbins Rd.

Updates on Major Developments
Update on Sense / Dingle site
Houses in Multiple Occupancy - Article 4
Local Sustainable Transport Fund

The city council plan to introduce a 20mph limit on Residential Rds and also on the Bristol Rd in Bournbrook. However Gibbins Rd will remain at 30mph.

The city have pressed ahead with the expansion of St Mary's School and the opening of the University School on Weoley Park Rd but have not made any adjustments to the local roads to allow for the extra traffic and parking.

Concerned about traffic levels and parking in the Selly Oak St Mary's Neighbourhood? Complete our survey here and come to the meeting. You can also add comments to this post (click on the [no] comments link below).