At Full Council last week (Tuesday 3 December) the Local Development Plan was formally adopted. It is now a legal document and is the blue print for development within Solihull for the next 15 years. The full document can viewed via this link: http://www.solihull.gov.uk/Attachments/Local_Plan_Final__low_resolution.pdf
The Inspectors Report, paragraph 14, reads:
The Solihull Local Plan (SLP) establishes the strategic planning framework for Solihull for the period up to 2028, setting out a spatial portrait of the Borough, identifying its challenges, objectives and vision. It establishes a spatial strategy and a series of strategic policies to achieve sustainable economic growth, provide homes for all, improve accessibility and encourage sustainable travel, protect and enhance the environment, promote quality of place and support local communities. It not only provides the strategic planning context for the Borough, but also makes site-specific allocations, including housing and employment land. It is accompanied by an extensive evidence base, including Background Papers, technical reports and studies, strategies and sustainability appraisals.
The inspector’s report (link here: http://www.solihull.gov.uk/Attachments/SolihullLP_final.pdf ) does mention other factors to be taken into consideration, such as a duty to consider the future housing needs of Birmingham – who have only just begun to prepare their long term housing needs. This is an important issue (especially as I, like many other residents of Solihull, moved to the borough from Birmingham in the last 30 years) but Birmingham has many brown field sites it must use for their housing needs before seeking to ask neighbouring authorities to identify land for their needs. Basically, I believe the situation is no different to what has been in existence for the last three decades.
Paragraphs 80 to 83 of the inspectors report relate specifically to development sites within Blythe ward. The inspector justifies their inclusion in the LDP and finds the phasing of the release of the sites for development being ‘soundly based’. I know that many residents will appreciate this last statement.
What happens now?
I did attend Full Council on 3 December to support the LDP – to not have a plan would leave the borough at the mercy of developers and a return to the John Prescott days. Unfortunately, business was going very slowly on the night and two hours into the meeting we were still about 90 mins away from discussing the LDP. I had to leave the meeting because I was only 17 days after having a hip replacement and was in a bit of discomfort. However, let me very clear – I support the LDP.
There are issues that will need resolving when planning applications are submitted and discussed at the Planning Committee and as a member of that committee it is vital I do not seek to predetermine my decisions. It is important acknowledge though that some planning application shave been made for sites that are not within the LDP and other planning applications brought forward from the suggested phasing within the LDP. These will be determined on an individual basis by the planning committee.