Second attempt at Walsall flats plan once branded ‘uber-trendy glass fronted monstrosity’

Mali Jenkins Care Home in The Crescent, Walsall, closed in 2017

Habinteg Housing Association is looking to convert arson-hit Mali Jenkins House in The Crescent into a three-storey block of 18 flats suitable for wheelchair-bound people.

The former care home closed in 2017 and suffered damage as a result of arson attacks and vandalism. It has since been demolished.

Earlier this year, the proposals sparked strong objects from almost 200 residents with Lisa Fidwar told Walsall Council’s planning committee the new building would be a “blot on the landscape”.

Artist impression of the original proposal. Image: Acanthus WSM Architects

She said: “What is being proposed is a three-storey uber-trendy glass fronted monstrosity.

“We cannot find a similar building anywhere in our locality. We don’t want such a building on our doorsteps.”

The proposal had been backed by planning officers and Habinteg said the homes would all be affordable rents and cater for vulnerable residents such as disabled people, as well as transforming the derelict former care home site.

But the committee rejected the plan because they felt it was out of character for the area and represented an over-development of the site. Housing standards officers also raised concerns about the scheme.

In the new application, Habinteg said the development would be energy efficient, offer safe and secure housing for vulnerable people and be affordable.

Agents Acanthus WSM Architects said: “The development comprises 18 proposed specialist wheelchair and accessible apartments over three storeys with landscaped communal garden and parking court. All the apartments will be affordable.

“It is intended that the development will be home to disabled and elderly people who represent some of the most vulnerable in society and who’s housing options are currently severely limited, many of whom are forced

to live in unsuitable temporary accommodation limiting peoples life chances.

“Walsall Council will benefit from 100 per cent of the nominations thus helping to reduce the number of people on the housing waiting list and will assist in meeting the councils identified and acute need for accessible housing.

“The homes will be let at genuinely affordable rents and managed by Habinteg Housing Association who are not a traditional Registered Social Landlord.

“Habinteg specialises in the provision of wheelchair accessible housing. They work to demonstrate that it is possible to design, build and manage accessible housing as part of a mixed and integrated community.

“They also promote the idea of ​​universal housing as a principle which should underpin all new residential provision.”

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