Developers have finally admitted defeat in an 18-month homes battle which saw angry residents take their “David and Goliath” struggle to the Prime Minister.
Warwick-based Sandstone Group have decided not to go ahead with a High Court challenge to a planning inspector’s damning verdict on blueprints for up to 70 homes in leafy Marston Green.
Locals feared houses and flats set to be built across back gardens of homes would ruin the character of their “archetypal English” country lane and accused Sandstone of “garden grabbing”.
But a government expert ruled that soaring sound levels caused by the extension of the nearby runway at Birmingham International Airport would have made the new development too noisy.
Sandstone had filed papers at the High Court but officers at Solihull Council received a notice this week that the case had been discontinued.
Bosses of the firm have refused to rule out future applications but residents are claiming victory. Linda Poulson, spokeswoman for Marston Green Opposing Over-Development, said: “It’s great news and we are happy that this has come to an end at last.
“We feel quite confident that the decision of the planning inspector has set a precedent for the land and any future applications would be viewed in the same way.
“This has shown that developers can’t ride roughshod over residents where people are prepared to make a stand.”
Solihull Council turned down two separate planning applications for homes by the developer, firstly in October 2007 and later in February this year.
Planning inspector Robert Luck upheld both decisions following appeals after hearing that the airport was set for an expansion which would mean a three fold boost in passenger numbers and twice as many flights.
Gary Palmer, head of planning at Solihull Council, said: “The papers had been filed at the High Court but we have been told the case will not go ahead.
“Essentially this was a challenge to the government’s decision rather than our own.”
A spokesman for Sandstone said: “The High Court challenge is no longer but that’s not to say that our pursual of the site is no longer.
“We would not rule anything out at this stage.”