Councillor Rob Sealey has today spoken out against a decision by developers to change the use of Franklin House from offices to residential use and convert Franklin House to 96 properties.
The office block on Bournville Lane, opposite the Cadbury factory was previously leased to Premier Foods as offices until five years ago, but under new rules, it is now a permitted development right to change the use of an office to residential use.
Two years ago, local Conservative Councillors Rob Sealey, Timothy Huxtable and Nigel Dawkins mounted a successful campaign against plans to convert the building into 73 flats and for an additional ten new build properties (4 houses and 6 flats) on the site, fearing that it would place strains on local resources. A petition containing hundreds of signatures and comments was presented to the full City Council and as a result, the application was withdrawn by the developer at the last minute in March 2011. A subsequent similar application was refused by the Planning Committee in November 2011.
Councillor Rob Sealey said,“I am outraged that the views of the local planning department are being totally ignored. This is an office block in a non-residential area and it should remain so. Bournville is increasingly a densely populated area with huge pressures on local facilities such as parking and access to schools. To add another 96 properties to that is ridiculous”. Councillor Rob Sealey went onto comment, “I have always maintained that the building should be retained as an office block with investment in the building to bring it up to modern office standards and bring much needed employment to Bournville”