A Very Sad Day
Sunday, October 17th 2004
Great Barr Observer
The derelict site of the former St. Margaret's Hospital will be bulldozed to make way for 445 houses after Bovis Homes were granted planning permission by the Government this week.
Campaigners were outraged this week after the Government gave the go-ahead for a 445-homes development on the former St. Margarets Hospital site. Bovis Homes were informed on Tuesday (September 14) that their four-year campaign to gain planning permission for the controversial development had paid off after the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) backed their proposals.
But the announcement has angered objectors and residents fighting the plans who believe the future of the area is now in ruins. "This is a very sad day for Great Barr" said Peter Allen, the man leading the opposition to the Bovis Homes development. "I'm very disappointed that the Goverment has chosen to ignore the views of local people and give the green light for this monsterous housing development," added Mr. Allen.
The housing company had appealed to the ODPM after the plans were vehemently refused at local level.
Oscott Councillor John Cotten, who gave evidence at a Public Inquiry held by the ODPM, said the Government would regret its decision."I think in years to come the Government will realise they have made the wrong decision," he conceded. "When there are no doctors, no school places, chaos on the roads and increased crime and disorder from police shortages, they will have to admit that they got it wrong. We can tell them now exactly what is going to happen, but as with previous consultations where the public have raised their concerns, they won't listen. But it is the people of Great Barr who are going to suffer," he added.
Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood said he believed the decision had come down to who could afford to fight their corner the longest. "It once again demonstrated how large national companies can use their financial muscle to get what they want with total disregard for what the local community wants. This is going to have disastrous effects on the Great Barr area," he added.
Bruce George, MP for Walsall South, echoed his thoughts and likened the residents campaign against Bovis to that of David and Goliath. He said: "We had no barrister to challenge Bovis and their legal team and when Walsall and Birmingham Councils withdrew their opposition this clearly gives Bovis the edge." He added that he was disappointed by the outcome of the Public Inquiry. "I am bitterly disappointed with the decision. Bovis now has the green light to build their bloody houses," he said. "Almost all of our arguments were rejected by the Inspector. We fought a good and long fight which cost Bovis a lot of money and made them change a lot of their policies in order to win. I am absolutely gutted with the decision," added Mr. George.
Pheasey Park Farm councillor Adrian Andrew said he was speechless and "very upset" with the decision.
This article was written by Charlotte Evans and published by Great Barr Observer on Sunday, October 17th 2004 and NOT owned by nor affiliated with opacity.us, but are recorded here solely for educational use. The photographs featured in the article are randomly selected from the Great Barr Colony (St Margaret's Hospital) galleries on opacity.us unless noted otherwise; they may not directly relate to the article subject matter except for the site location - any other relation is purely coincidental.