Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Planning Committee will be visiting the former tram depot offices at 582 Moseley Road at the corner of Trafalgar Road. The Committee will be looking at the state of building following my complaint at Planning Committee today about the lack of planning enforcement on this building.


582 Moseley Road is one of the few tram depots in Birmingham that is statutory listed and is certainly the grandest in design. The site consists of two buildings:

Building 1: the large shed to the rear which housed the trams and is now used as a skateboard and rock climbing centre.

Building 2: the two storey building that fronts onto Moseley Road is the former offices and canteen for the depot. This is now empty and is the focus of this visit.

This is a long history of unauthorised work at this building since 2004. Indeed, many residents will know that I made a YouTube about the state of this building in 2005. I had become fed up with the lack of action by our Planning officers to stop the owner doing unauthorised demolition on the building. My YouTube video showed some of the unauthorised demolition work, which included the complete gutting of the interior. It also showed how the owner had undermined the foundations, which for a period made the entire building structurally unstable. For this piece of public service, I was suspended for a month as a Councillor, since 21seconds of the video involved me walking inside a section of the building and was deemed to be trespass.

Roll forward to 2012 and the owner has continued to do unauthorised work on the building. Indeed, in 2008 the owner was given retrospective planning permission for some of his work, with conditions that the worst parts of his previous work was reversed. To date the owner has made no attempt whatsoever to satisfy these conditions.

The owner in 2009 even built a front boundary wall that was not to the design or materials as agreed by Planning – it was excessively high, using poor quality bricks and the quality of the bricklaying was so poor that one section of the boundary is not even level, with a 2 degree slope to the horizon.

I complained to Planning in 2009 about the front boundary wall and the lack of action in satisfying the conditions of the 2008 planning application. Since then no further work has happened on site, but equally no enforcement action has taken plan either.

At today’s Planning Committee I also asked if a Section 215 notice could be issued against the owner to force him to tidy up the frontage – this is after all a gateway site into Moseley. A Section 215 notice can be used to force property owners to tidy up their properties if they are deemed to be eyesores from the public highway. I’ve managed to persuade Planning to issue several Section 215 notices against Moseley and Kings Heath properties since 2004.

Actions that could be undertaken by a Section 215 on this property include:

  • Secure the perimeter of the site – at the moment children can wander around the front which has rubble and bits of wood with nails sticking up. It is even possible to access the rear of site and the interior of the building by squeezing through a gap in the perimeter boarding. The skateboard park to the rear inform me that drug users regularly congregate inside the building and have to cleared out by the police.
  • Remove all the mouldy boards that have been left leaning up against the frontage.
  • Remove all the bags of sand and rumble around the frontage.

The date for the site visit has not yet been set, but if anyone would like to attend, please e-mail me back and I’ll let you know the date when it is sent to me.







At 7:25 PM, Blogger NB said...

Good on you Martin. This looks like a lovely old building, unfortunately we have many many buildings in Brum which seem to be allowed to deteriorate by the owners. I must say there are some instances of great success by Birmingham city council planning officers and I'd say the Grand Hotel sounds like it could be coming back into use. Buildings along the Hagley Road have been going dgradually for many years and it's so sad to witness.

There seems to be so much greed in the city from developers who obviously don't care a sh*t about the heritage of Birmingham.

Anything you can do to prevent some of these fine old buildings from being destroyed, and put back to good use would have the full support of many people I know. Thank you for making a stand and taking an interest, I'm all for progress, but not at the cost of the architectural foundations of Birmingham.


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