A PLAN to add another storey to an apartment block in Smethwick has been approved by the council.

The move to build 12 flats on land next to the New Hope Christian Centre in Woodland Drive, Smethwick, has been approved by planners at Sandwell Council.

The council had previously approved plans to build a nursing home on the land before giving the green light to revised plans for 12 flats last year. 

The approved plans would see another storey added to the new block in Woodland Drive with the 12 bigger flats built across three rather than two floors.

Halesowen News: CGI of the proposed apartment blockCGI of the proposed apartment block

The ground floor car park would also remain. The height of the building would increase from 8.4 metres to 11.4 metres.

The council’s highways department had raised concerns that the size of the proposed ‘studies’ in the original plans meant they could be used as a small bedroom leading to the size being reduced – so it would struggle to fit a single bed – to prevent it from being used.

The potential increase in ‘bedrooms’ would have meant that more parking spaces would be required for the application to meet standards.

The patch of grass next to the church has a history with applications for a 14-bed nursing home approved by Sandwell Council in 2016 and renewed in 2020. 

This was before the plans for 12 apartments were approved by the council just over a year ago. A new application asking to add another storey and alter the layout was then put forward just before the end of the year.

A report from planners at Sandwell Council outlining the approval said: “The proposal exceeds the requirements for internal floor area for one and two-bedroom flats … Adequate provision has therefore been made for internal living accommodation and external amenity space. 

“In terms of the amended design to include a pitched roof rather than a flat roof with front and rear dormer windows. 

“In my opinion, the pitched roof is an improved design which picks up on the character of the existing three-storey properties on the estate. I am satisfied the proposed dwellings would not significantly impact on the light, outlook or privacy of neighbouring dwellings.”