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Plan to turn former Acocks Green hotel into home for 11 approved - despite opposition

The conversion of the Avalon Hotel in Acocks Green was narrowly approved by the council’s planning committee on a knife-edge vote

The Avalon Hotel in Sherbourne Road, Acocks Green

Plans to turn a historic Victorian hotel into a shared home for 11 professionals were described as a ‘recipe for disaster’ by a councillor.

But the conversion of the Avalon Hotel in Acocks Green was narrowly approved by the council’s planning committee on a knife-edge vote.

Some committee members thought that it was not right to expect 11 people to share a single kitchen and communal living and dining rooms in the two-storey Sherbourne Road property.

But others agreed with council officers that the former hotel, built in the 1850s, was large enough to cope.

It took the casting vote of committee chairman Mike Sharpe to approve the plan.

The hotel has fine stained glass windows and other historic features, but only has a local historic listing which offers only limited protection from development.

An application has been made to Historic England for national listing.

Julia Larden of the Acocks Green Focus Group spoke against the conversion.

“The house is one of the oldest in Acocks Green. It dates back tothe 1850s and has some surviving features including an original fire place, a highly ornate plaster work ceiling, and is rumoured to have a striking Victorian lavatory.

“This is a lazy and cost-cutting proposal where two or three self-contained flats would be far better. Trying to make this work could have a very damaging effect on this historically important and potentially fragile property.”

But speaking on behalf of the developer planning agent Peter Halfpenny said that they want to provide a property for ‘professional or semi-professional’ people.

He guaranteed that the building’s exterior would not be altered.

Committee member Coun Maureen Cornish (Cons, Sutton Four Oaks) said: “This is a recipe for disaster. As a hotel it could be run quite efficiently, but what we have here is a half-hearted approach which will make it a suitable for people living here.”

Her colleague Coun Gareth Moore (Cons, Erdington) said: “I have concerns over eleven people sharing one kitchen and communal areas. It is a very large number of people.”

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