A ROW of historic Oldswinford homes that have remained unchanged for more than 140 years will be "scarred" forever - residents fear - if a plan that would enable a parking space to be created at the front of the property is approved.

The Victorian houses along Hagley Road feature in many local history books as they have retained their original appearance since they were built in 1875.

But homeowners living in the row, originally called Mount Terrace, have been left aghast after discovering neighbours who moved in last summer have applied for planning permission to lower the kerb outside which would then enable them to knock down part of the original front wall and dig out the front garden to create a parking plot.

Resident Steve Yates, who has lived at one of the six properties in the row near Oldswinford Cross for 18 years, said: "At a time when Dudley Council are actively preserving and renovating legacies of the Victorian era - recent work on Mary Stevens Park is a prime example - I feel there will be many local people who will be saddened to see such an original historic property scarred in such a way.

"We are canvassing local residents and shop owners to raise awareness of this issue before such a beautiful relic from the Victorian age is changed forever."

He added: "It is worth noting that there is ample parking space either on the drive that is shared by all residents at the back of the properties, or on the the cul-de-sac behind the properties.

"I have spoken to other owners of the houses in this row of terraces and it appears the main reason we all chose to buy them was because they were so original and, therefore, unique."

A number of residents have already submitted official objections to the proposal.

Pam and Anthony Hughes told Dudley planners: "It will cause permanent unsightly change to a series of properties of huge architectural significance to Oldswinford."

Stourbridge Historical Society has also objected to the plan and honourary secretary David Hickman said: "It would obviously have a major impact on an important row of Victorian houses."

Dudley Council's highways department has also lodged an objection - saying "the property has existing parking facilities which are both sufficient and suitable to the rear".

A note to planners adds that "fundamental highway safety concerns are raised" as cars would be unable to enter and exit the proposed parking space in forward gear on to the busy A491 main roadway.

The applicants did not wish to comment.