Plans to build housing on land used by Birmingham & Solihull rugby club have been kicked into touch after a planning appeal was dramatically withdrawn at the 11th hour.
An inquiry was due to begin this week to hear representations from landlord Oakmoor (Sharmans Cross) Limited over its application to build 87 homes in Sharmans Cross Road, Solihull, home to Birmingham & Solihull.
Solihull Council rejected the application for 51 houses, 36 apartments, a day nursery and associated works in August last year on grounds that the designs did not include enough affordable housing.
Local campaigners had opposed the development, fearing it could ultimately result in the loss of both the club and its amenities.
In October the rugby club went into liquidation, losing the right to remain at the venue.
It was reformed as Birmingham & Solihull Rugby Club Limited and was able to reach an agreement with Oakmoor allowing the Bees to play the rest of their 2009/2010 season’s fixtures at the grounds.
Club officials hoped that funding gained through Oakmoor’s redevelopment could enable the Bees to remain at the site as well as establish the Solihull Sporting Partnership Community Foundation. But Oakmoor pulled out from its appeal late on Friday.
Rugby club chairman Paul Davidson said: “Oakmoor had its reasons for withdrawing its appeal and we are very disappointed that this was necessary, but the Club is still keen to see the proposed Sporting Partnership Community Foundation ultimately come to fruition.
“The principal focus for the Club is to secure our Championship status for next season and develop on a stable and viable platform as a whole club.
“We will then review our existing options with regards to where we play our games next season and beyond.”
It is understood “significant progress” has been made over plans for the land and Oakmoor may submit a revised application.
Councillor Kate Wild criticised the lateness of the company’s decision to withdraw its appeal.