Category Archives: Blythe
Many residents of Tidbury Green will have received notification of the formal planning application by Lioncourt Homes, who wish to build up to 190 dwellings on this land. The farm is designated under the borough’s draft Local Development Plan (LDP) to be returned to the green belt. It is hoped the planning inspector will be signing off the LDP in a matter of weeks, but in the meantime Blythe ward is subjected to several planning applications.
Readers can access the application via the councils website via this link (search for application 2013/1705): http://www.solihull.gov.uk/planning/dc/viewapp.asp . However, for ease I have posted some of the documents here: 1705_arboricultural_survey_report 1705_design_and_access_statement_part_1 1705_design_and_access_statement_part_2 1705_design_and_access_statement_part_3 1705_planning_statement 1705_public_consultation_statement
A few sundays ago I joined Peter Seddon, Chair of Tidbury Green Parish Council and we went on a tour of Tidbury Green to judge the inaugural scarecrow competition. Peter had the easy task of photographing the exhibits whilst I was sole judge and jury.
There were 17 entries in all and the standard was superb: I shall post photographs.
I will not state here who i judged as winners, prizes will be awarded at an event at the village hall on Saturday 19 October. Unfortunately i can not attend that as I will be presenting a cheque from the Mayors Charity Fund to Olton Mere.
The actual location is not within the Blythe Ward boundary, being just across the road in the Shirley South Ward. However, issues in Highlands Road have a direct effect in Monkspath and I make readers aware.
An application, number 2013/1525, has been submitted to develop land at the rear of the existing Porch showrooms. See via this link: http://www.solihull.gov.uk/planning/dc/ViewApp.asp
I am not aware exactly what is to be constructed but I have raised a few issues with the planning officers, such; the height of the buildings (so they do not impose on existing levels, and ensuring there will be sufficient on-site car parking for staff/visitors to the new premises.
Some residents have spoken to me about the development in Highlands Road; being a resident of Monkspath for over 30 years I did know that this land was safeguarded for business purposes when Monkspath was first developed. Indeed, about 4 years ago developers received outline permission to build hotel further along the road.
We must ensure any development is appropriate and does not infringe our superb local nature reserve on the adjoining land.
I have posted a planning application to build a dormer bungalow on greenbelt land in Houndsfield lane, Tidbury Green Planning Application Houndsfield Lane . The report by the councils planning officer recommended the members of the planning committee refuse the application, mainly because it the site is greenbelt land. I submitted my representation, supporting the officers recommendations and this is here: Re Houndsfield Lane
I was particularly concerned that IF this application was successful then other greenbelt sites in the area could be subject to individual applications to build houses. I made a verbal representation at the planning committee meeting and stressed it is essential that IF any development is undertaken in Houndsfield Lane, or any other are in Tidbury Green then it has to be done in strategic manner and not piecemeal. Thankfully most members of the planning committee agreed and the application was refused.
The unusual aspect of this story is that, at short notice, I was asked to substitute at the meeting for Cllr Jeff Potts, who was unable to attend. Because I had already submitted my representation this meant I had to leave my seat and speak at the place designated for guest speakers. I was also not allowed to remain in the room whilst members discussed and voted on the issue.
The latest report covering the whole of the Meriden (rural) side of Solihull is posted here Newsletter October 2013 . As usual, some excellent work being done in partnership both in Blythe ward and Solihull in general. I also realise I did not post Septembers report, her it is: Newsletter September 2013
Not a lot of people know that Monkspath has history going back to the 13 century and some of its footpaths are historic. For instance, there was/is a path used by Monks to travel between monasteries and abbeys in the area. There is also a footpath, leading from Shelly Crescent towards Stratford Road. This runs alongside the rear of Notcutts garden Centre and Tescos and leads onto the Blythe Valley Country Park once the main A34 is crossed. This footpath was called the Kings Highway and historic maps mention Shelly Lane and the highway. The ever reliable Wikipedia has more on Monkspath http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monkspath
Anyway, I walked Millie down this footpath yesterday, specifically to look at some work undertaken by the Community Payback Team recently. They were tasked by our neighbourhood officers with clearing the footpath of litter and painting the wooden bridges. The work was done to a high standard and I have taken a few photographs of the walk and surround fields. Yes, some litter has returned and I, together with the neighbourhood officers, are talking to managers at Tesco and McDonald’s, looking at ways in which they can help.
Much has been mentioned about the land on Tanworth Lane, known as Mount Dairy Farm, Cheswick Green, Shirley, Solihull. The site is subject to the council’s Local Development Plan (LDP) ‘Solihull Draft Local Plan – Shaping a Sustainable Future’ which was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in September 2012. The LDP is yet to be formally adopted but the Planning Inspector, in his interim comments (April 2013) has stated the plan is sound. The LDP submission document can be viewed via this link: http://www.solihull.gov.uk/Attachments/Solihull_Draft_Local_Plan_Sept_2012.pdf and the inspector interim conclusions via this one: http://www.solihull.gov.uk/Attachments/Interim_Conclusions.pdf . The inspector is to take further submissions in October 2013 before presenting his final report, hopefully this side of the New Year. That no comment has been made about Mount Dairy Farm can be construed as the inspector being satisfied with its inclusion in Solihull’s LDP.
The main issues local residents, especially near to Willow Drive and Coppice Walk, Cheswick Green have with the site is the presence of Mount dairy Brook, a waterway that flows into the River Blythe nearby. Severe flooding took place in 2007 and 2012 and residents are naturally concerned that any development on the site (Mount Dairy Farm) will only cause more flooding to gardens and roads in the vicinity. There is a real fear that if development is allowed then flooding of houses will occur. The site plan can be found on page 168 of the LDP and on page 147 readers can see the site is set for release after 1 April 2023. I am content with this, purely on the basis that, having taken into consideration the history of the site, the period between now and 2023 will allow a detailed examination of the effects of any flooding taking place in the next few years and how any development on the site will affect the locality. It is reasonable to suggest that recent wet weather is as a result of climate change, and even if you are a climate change denier, the flooding of 2007 and 2012 bear more time for scrutiny.
I have met with officers of the council who are responsible for the sustainable development in the borough. I wished to find out as much as I could about the site and how it came to be included in the recent LDP.
Mount Dairy Farm has been the subject of development as far back a 1991/1992, when local authorities had a Unitary Development Plan (UDP). In a report by a Planning Inspector, dated 22 July 1992, the inspector commented, at paragraph 2.339 (page 58) ‘Gallagher’s Cheswick Green site with its 27 acre and proposed 250 houses could be made available in the next two years’ It goes on to state ‘Development of the site would make Cheswick Green with its 800 or so 1970s houses a more compact settlement, physically linking older housing fronting Tanworth Lane with more modern housing to the east’. In para 2.344 (page 59) the inspector recommends the council give consideration to omitting two sites owned by Gallagher (including Mount dairy Farm) be omitted from the Green Belt. I have posted the link to this document here: MDF 1992 Rpt (1)
On page 175 of the same report, (Rpt 2) MDF 1992 Rpt (2) , in para 6.55 (a) and (b) recommended Solihull Council to give consideration to his comment to: ‘assessing the Borough’s long term development needs and deciding where a reasonable amount of land to meet theses needs should be safeguarded; and ensuring that the aforesaid land is safeguarded by appropriate development control policies’. Mount Dairy Farm became land ‘safeguarded’ for possible use as land for housing development.
The next important date is 1996, when the borough’s UDP was reviewed. Document MDF 1996 Rpt MDF 1996 Rpt is an extract from the Inspectors report. The two pages scanned from the report relate to the site in Tanworth Lane. The findings are quite telling and a sentence in para 5.4.2 reads ‘…would mean the loss of attractive green fields but the question was explored at the 1991 Inquiry and Inspector Bushby concluded that this site should have a high priority for housing; and there is insufficient reason to depart from his conclusions’.
In 2006 the site was again identified for possible development (page 23) within the Solihull Unitary Development Plan 2006: http://www.solihull.gov.uk/Attachments/2006writtenstatementcomp.pdf . When reviewing the 1997 UDP (in 2005) the then Planning Inspector recommended no modifications to the boroughs UDP in respect of Mount dairy Farm: http://www.solihull.gov.uk/Attachments/Ch03.pdf (see pages 40/41). He did refer to:
• Are there any exceptional circumstances to justify deleting this site as
safeguarded land and returning it to the Green Belt, in view of its
background and evolution;
• Is this site appropriately identified as an area of safeguarded land,
particularly in view of locational and sustainability considerations and the
impact on the character of the settlement, residential amenity, traffic and
• Is there a compelling case to justify designating this site as a strategic
housing allocation to meet current and future housing land requirements.
He concluded in para 3.161 ‘Consequently, I conclude that this site is appropriately designated as safeguarded land and there are no exceptional circumstances to justify returning it to the Green Belt’. He did though stress: ‘The detailed concerns of local residents and others would be fully addressed if and when a decision is taken to consider this site for housing development in the future’.
Although brief, this report is detailed in respect of dates when Mount Dairy Farm was considered by different planning inspectors. In respect of the current LDP, page mentions planning policy H2 and clearly advises that safeguarded land needs to be considered before green belt land. This is the case with Mount Dairy Farm and why it has remained as land for release for possible housing development. The current LDP (albeit still to be adopted) is specific about the Mount Dairy Farm site in stipulating a proportion of land should be allocated for the provision of open space and there should be flood attenuation measures.
Readers may wish to view my post, of 10 July, about the public consultation/exhibition held by Bloor Homes as part of their pre-planning application consultation for development of this site: http://cllrkenhawkins.co.uk/2013/07/10/tanworth-lane-cheswick-green/ .
I/we await a formal planning application by Bloor Homes to develop the site and until then there is little that can be done. I will object to any planning application purely on the basis that the LDP has sustainability of housing development at its heart and that by not releasing the land for development until after 1 April 2023 flood risks should either have been realised or effective action by the Environment Agency radically reduced the likelihood of future flooding and that allowing release at this date will help local schools and service adapt to the increase in housing development in a structured manner.
In any event a formal planning application by Bloor Homes (or any other developer) needs to show a detailed flood risk assessment which both Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and the Environment Agency will need to accept.
Please feel free to make comment on this site or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please find posted the latest monthly Neighbourhood Report covering the rural side of Solihull; this includes my ward, Blythe. You will find details of operations and projects between the council officers and police neighbourhood teams, with some excellent work being undertaken. Newsletter September 2013
Also shown on the newsletter are details of Police Beat surgeries. For Blythe ward these will be:
19 September – 3.30 x 4.30pm at Dickens Heath Library
9 October – 11am x 1pm Cuppa with a Copper at Notcutts
21 October – 6 x 7pm at Tesco’s Store.
Readers may wish to look at the post of Jul12 last (http://cllrkenhawkins.co.uk/2013/07/12/another-planning-aplication-shirley-golf-club/) for full details of the application by the golf club to establish a driving range, golf academy and build 57 new homes on green belt land. I have taken possession of a 166 named petition from local residents who object to the planning application and it will be presented to the Council’s planning officers.
There is still no date for the application to go before the planning committee but it is likely to be one of the October meetings. I will inform readers and residents when I hear confirmation. I have posted here my formal letter of objection: Golf Club Objection Letter . It is also worth pointing out I am not against any development – previous posts about the Local Development Plan indicate my general support for appropriate development.
Readers may also wish to view comments from people who have already objected to the proposals on-line. These can be viewed via this link: http://www.solihull.gov.uk/planning/dc/comments.asp?AppNo=2013/1126&V=1
Since having another dog (Millie a 18 month old Retriever) I have become a more regular visitor to Hillfield Park, which for the reader who does not know the area, is off Monkspath Hall Road.
The park is essentially on top of landfill (being near the old Monkspath tip) and has developed as the Monkspath development has developed in the last 30 years; I have lived here for that long. Last year (2012) the park attained a Green Flag status and retained it this year. More information about how parks attain a green flag award can be found on this website: http://greenflag.keepbritaintidy.org/
The park became a nature reserve a few years ago and regular visitors will see there are areas that are left to grow in order to allow wild grasses to seed and encourage insects and other wild life. The fruits of this work has seen the park really develop. It is not just an area of mowed grass where football teams hire pitches during the winter season; there is real evidence of nature being given a helping hand. In fact, on a recent visit with the Councils ecology officer I was shown some Common Spotted Orchids which had naturalised and the even rarer Bee Orchid. Both wild flowers are shown in the gallery/slide show.
One of the regular ‘problems’ is the pools of water that accumulate following rain. These pools do not drain quickly and some turn to mud. The reason for this is what lies underneath and no matter how much the council might spend on tackling them the issue will not go away. Therefore the management strategy is to mitigate them as much as possible. I have shown one of the areas in the photo gallery. It is this one, and a nearby one, that we hope to line with gravel (after preparing the ground), fill with top soil then plant wild flowers/seeds, creating a more colourful wild flower area. We will also plant some poppies – this will be great especially as 2014 is the centenary of the start of World war One. It is also planned to undertake work on the stretch of footpath (near to the Field House Pub area), to raise the level so that the dip (formed through subsidence) can be repaired.
Is the park super? Is it well used? Does it have occasional litter and dog mess? Do some people misuse the park? Yes to all these questions. However, as a long time resident of Monkspath I have seen the park become a far nicer park. It is regularly mowed by our partner/contractors and litter is collected. It is a fact of life that some people leave litter and I have spoken to our parks team to send a message to football clubs who book the parks football pitches to ensure their players/spectators take any rubbish away with them. I will monitor this in the coming football season. One thing I am pleased about is the few incidents of dog fouling I have seen. I do actually look for this when I take my dog to the park so that I can monitor the extent of the problem.
For several years there has been a Park Users Group that met under the chairmanship of an officer from Solihull Council. However, at the last meeting it was widely agreed that a more formal organisation be created. This is being arranged, with the help of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, and at the next meeting, in September, we hope to move things forward. I will update residents following this meeting.