Campaigners have lost their fight to save a popular 350-year-old Solihull building.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister upheld an appeal by developers against a Solihull Council decision to block plans for a 14-unit, three-storey apartment block on Fowgay Hall.

The decision to demolish was taken out of the council's hands after Parkridge Homes successfully appealed to the ODPM for non-determination of the planning application.

In October, Solihull's planning sub-committee refused the Parkridge application, in a largely symbolic gesture, but was still taken into account by the ODPM.

Details of the decision emerged yesterday, six weeks after a Government inspector visited the site on the corner of Whitefields Road and Dingle Lane.

Fowgay Hall Action Group spokesman Jeff Stone said: "This is very disappointing news for all the local residents.

"We had the support of the local council and a petition signed by 1,200 people."

Coun Les Kyles (Con Knowle), chairman of the planning sub-committee, said: "We were hoping to preserve the hall as a building of local historical interest.

"However the applicant has the right to appeal and we have to accept the decision of the planning inspector."