A CONTROVERSIAL plan to convert two Grade II listed buildings into new homes in Belbroughton have been rejected by the council’s planning committee.

More than a dozen protesters held a 'Vote No 2 Warr' wheelie bin march against the proposal to turn the buildings into one-bedroom houses last week.

Residents near the development, off Nash Lane, claimed the plan would over-develop the village's conservation area, the historic out-buildings, and cause traffic problems.

And while developer Gavin Warr, of 11:11 Property developers, insisted the site was a 'small and sympathetic' development, the committee sided with campaigners, voting four to three in favour of rejecting the application on Monday, August 6.

Resident Brian Robinson said after the meeting: “It is good news. We are very pleased that councillors accepted some of the arguments that were being put forward, particularly the fact that these buildings are far too small to turn into houses.

"The council needs to be more proactive in terms of assessing the buildings and finding a reasonable use for them."

The committee granted Listed Building Consent to the two out-buildings after intervention from the planning officer, despite initially refusing it.

Mr Robinson added: "We will still keep a close eye on it as this might run and run.

"We just want a development that is suitable for this part of the conservation area and in keeping with the area, and one that does not damage the structure of the buildings either.”

Mr Warr told the Advertiser: "We are disappointed the committee decided to vote against the planning officer’s recommendation for approval.

"We will await the decision notice and then assess our options. We will consider the contents with our planning consultant and decide what we do next.”