Guest house

Three houses to become guesthouse in Birmingham but people are worried

Controversial plans to turn three houses in Edgbaston into a guesthouse have been approved. The objections raised mainly relate to anti-social behavior and the fact that the owner already owns the hotel next door.

Houses Numbers 3, 5 and 7 St Augustine’s Road – which consist of self-contained apartments – are located within the Edgbaston Conservation Area, close to the Grade II* listed St Augustine’s Church. The Norfolk Hotel is next door and all are owned by St Augustine’s Management Company.

Five objection letters were sent to the Chiefs, including one from Preet Gill MP and Councilor Carl Rice, along with a petition with 58 signatures. The objections were mostly related to concerns about the potential for anti-social behavior that may have increased in the area.

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In the report tabled at Birmingham City Council’s Planning Committee meeting today, MP Gill’s comment was summarized as follows: ‘The site is adjacent to the Norfolk Hotel, where the main use is aimed at people in need of accommodation, staying longer than a normal hotel guest.. Anti-social behavior in the area has increased.

“They should consider another location. If the proposal was for a hotel with a maximum stay of 7 days, that would be more acceptable.

Cllr Rice’s comment was summarized as follows: “The owner of this property also owns the Norfolk Hotel which is operated as an inn. Existing problems in the region will worsen if this is approved.

The West Midlands Police and Fire Department are listed in the report as third party responders and raised no objections. The police recommend that a robust access control system be installed at communal entry points and that CCTV be installed to cover pedestrian entrances and the common area, as well as an anti-crime lighting system .

Councilor Gareth Moore said: ‘I’m slightly torn on this one because on principle I don’t really have a problem with using the guesthouse but I am aware of the Airbnbs that have operated in Erdington that they can cause problems with antisocial behavior and crime.

“I know the police are happy with that, but I just want to make sure that this issue has been fully addressed, because it certainly seems from my experience that because there is no one on place to watch these people, they seem to think they can get away with more than they otherwise would.

“If you had at least one hotel, you would have a facade of some description, whereas according to the description here, there is none of that.”

The committee members discussed the possible risks but were convinced that the police had no objections. There were eight votes in favor of the plans and no objections.