RESIDENTS in Wollaston have raised concerns about a plan that could see a large detached family home built on untouched land that has provided a sanctuary for wildlife for decades.

Plans have been submitted to Dudley Council to build a Grand Designs style four-bedroom single-storey property with basement and a detached garage and parking area on a strip of amenity land behind homes in Meriden Avenue.

Residents living in the street say the land has been left wild and undeveloped for more than 100 years - with many once offered the opportunity to rent it as additional garden space to grow fruit and vegetables.

It had been long owned by the Tooby family who built the homes in Meriden Avenue but earlier this year it was sold to a new owner and now a proposal has been submitted for the ambitious new build which comprises one level above ground, with a kitchen and living area, three bedrooms and a bathroom, and one below ground with a large master bedroom with en-suite, games room and snug/media room.

Resident Sylvia Ellis said: "It's the most peculiar design I've ever seen, it's very modernistic, totally out of keeping with the rest of the street.

"I can't imagine the size of the hole they're going to have to build.

"The land has a Tree Preservation Order on it and it's never had any other buildings on it except where somebody used to keep their horses.

Stourbridge News: Meriden Avenue - satellite view from GoogleMeriden Avenue - satellite view from Google

"There are lovely trees on there and badgers, foxes, squirrels, every bird you can think of, hedgehogs, frogs, toads, newts and insects. It teems with life.

"They're calling it wasteland, vacant and all this sort of stuff but it's pristine land. I just can't bear to think what it will be like when they start digging and all the foxes and badgers have to make a run for it."

Sylvia and her neighbours formed a group called Wollaston Wildlife Warriors to oppose development of the land when an earlier planning application to build two detached bungalows and a single detached garage was submitted in 2018. The plan was subsequently refused and the group is hoping this fresh attempt to build on the site will be too.

Sylvia said: "Once it's gone it will be gone forever and that would be such a loss for us all."

A planning statement for the proposed development says land to the south of the access route would remain undeveloped and it adds: "The application site is currently vacant and, with the exception of some notable mature trees which are visible from neighbouring properties and from the street in Meriden Avenue, it makes no valuable contribution to the local area.

"It is currently disused and untidy, and this situation is likely to worsen in the coming years if it remains undeveloped.

"This proposal represents an opportunity to make efficient use of a currently under-utilised site by providing a new home within an established residential settlement, meeting a clear housing need in the local community."

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It says the site was previously used as a builder’s storage yard and adds: "The majority of the site is or has been previously developed, and it displays large areas of hardstanding, over which weeds, brambles and nettles have grown.

"The existing trees, many of which are in poor health and as a result will fail in the coming years, are dotted around the site and are not of sufficient density to reasonably be considered forest or woodland."

It says the proposed property would have a flat roof and would not be visible from public vantage points and to minimise visibility from neighbouring gardens the design includes one-storey below ground level.

The planning statement adds: "The proposed dwelling would be of bespoke, contemporary design, featuring extensive floor to ceiling glazing in all of its ground floor habitable rooms, and roof lights in the hall and kitchen area, to maximise the receipt of natural light.

"The external facades would comprise a mixture of monocouche rendered surfaces and timber effect composite cladding. All glazing would be fitted with grey aluminium frames. The proposed design seeks to strike a balance between respecting existing character by proposing a building of subtle, unobtrusive scale, whilst facilitating change using modern contemporary style."

People have until August 13 to comment on the proposal.