A PLAN to bulldoze a landmark Norton pub and replace it with a large care home has been approved by the Planning Inspectorate.

The proposal by Frontier Estates to demolish The Greyhound pub on Norton Road and replace it with a 55-bed care facility was refused by Dudley Council’s planning committee in July 2021 after hundreds of people objected.

An appeal was lodged with the Government’s Planning Inspectorate in Bristol in January, however, and it has now been approved.

Planning inspector Bhupinder Thandi gave the go-ahead for the scheme on Friday May 6, following a site visit on March 8, and the pub now looks set to be demolished.

The decision document states the development will be subject to conditions but the inspector rejected many of the concerns raised by residents including worries about the proposed facility being too large for the plot and out of character for the area.

Stourbridge News: CGI of the proposed care home on the corner of Norton Road and Greyhound Lane. Image - Gillings PlanningCGI of the proposed care home on the corner of Norton Road and Greyhound Lane. Image - Gillings Planning

Granting approval, he said: “Due to its height, form and position on the roundabout junction the proposed development would be more prominent compared to the existing public house. However, this does not make the scheme unacceptable.

“The overall height and proportions of the proposed development would be sympathetic to the varied scale of buildings in the area and would relate well to its context. Given its setting within a generous plot and the separation from neighbouring properties I find its overall form and scale would be proportionate and would not appear as unduly bulky or dominant.

“The proposed development would be close to the road but, in my view, it would not unacceptably reduce the spaciousness that currently exists on this corner to such an extent that it would undermine the character and appearance of the area.”

He also dismissed concerns about possible parking and traffic problems and said the development would be accessible by foot and public transport, adding: “It would therefore be perfectly feasible for visitors and staff to travel to the proposed development without the need for a car. It is also not unreasonable to expect that a large proportion of visits would be pre-arranged with the operators of the care home who would have the ability to manage the frequency and timings of visits.”

He added: “I am satisfied the proposed development provides sufficient onsite parking for staff and visitors. Even if there was to be a small displacement of staff or visitor vehicles onto surrounding roads it is unlikely to lead to parking stress or result in conditions that would unduly affect highway safety.”

The inspector added that he had no concerns about a lack of security around the development or that it would lead to an increase in crime.

He said: “There is nothing to suggest the proposal would result in incidents of crime or that the security measures in place for staff and residents would be inadequate.”

He said the scheme would help to “meet the housing needs of older people” and added: “The proposed development would make a significant contribution to meeting the overall need for specialist housing within the borough for which there is an identified need and the development plan makes provision for.”

Concerns about the loss of the pub were also dismissed and the inspector said: “The appellant has submitted a viability assessment demonstrating that the public house is not viable. Moreover, it is not listed as an asset of community value.”