Plans to build a new hospital in Moseley for patients suffering from mental illnesses have suffered another setback amid threats of legal action from protesters.
Birmingham Planning Committee yesterday decided against making a decision on an application for a 63-bed building and outpatient's facility at Moseley Hall Hospital.
Members will visit the Alcester Road site to hear first hand from both sides - residents who oppose the scale of the proposed building, and representatives from Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust.
The proposal has already been the subject of one High Court hearing, where Moseley residents succeeded in obtaining a judicial review against Birmingham City Council's decision to grant planning permission.
The court's verdict means that the council must start the planning process afresh and reconsider the application.
Yesterday, residents threatened further legal action over the council's refusal to carry out an environmental impact study into the effect of the mental health unit on the existing Grade ll listed Moseley Hall Hospital and the conservation area. Bill Jones, a spokesman for the residents, told the planning committee that local people were not against having a facility for mental health on the site. They believed, however, that the proposal for a three-storey block and six single-storey wards was out of keeping with Moseley Hall and the conservation area.
Mr Jones said: "This would be a large new building in a sensitive area. It would be unwise of the committee to make a decision without a site visit.
"None of us object to a facility of this kind at this location. But we do believe the design can be reduced so that it still meets the clinical need but does not harm the conservation area."
Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust warned that refusal of planning permission would deliver a serious setback to services for an estimated 65,000 people over 65 in Birmingham suffering from mental illness.