Website: Birmingham Mail
Link : http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/local-news/jesus-armys-jewellery-quarter-plans-165024
A property developer has scuppered controversial plans by the Jesus Army to open a drop-in centre for prostitutes and drug addicts in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter.
The group had wanted to renovate offices at 33 Lionel Street near one of the main thoroughfares from the Jewellery Quarter into the city's business district but local businesses had appealed to planners to reject the scheme.
Officers from the council had been due to approve the plans after the police offered no objections.
However, property developer LMM, which owns the building next door, has now made a higher bid than the Jesus Army for the building, which was accepted by the vendor and completed this week.
Tony Haran, a manager at LMM, said: “Historically it is a building we have been interested in if the vendor would sell it. The Jesus Army emerged later.”
Mr Haran said the company's mind was focused into making a second bid after the planning process looked like a fait accompli following emails suggesting the success of the application within an hour of the end of the planning committee meeting.
He said: “In the end we were left with little option as I didn't think the objections to the plans were given proper weight. With the number of high-level land parcels in the area and then to have this on square one so to speak, would seem a little ironic.”
The surprise development brings to an end the planning application battle which sparked a furious backlash in the Jewellery Quarter.
There were objections from the owners of bars, restaurants and hotels which feared their businesses would suffer from an increase in anti-social behaviour.
More than 250 residents and businesses signed petitions urging the city planning committee to throw the application out. The protest was backed by the Jewellery Quarter Heritage and Regeneration Group.