Reason for the Local Plan Review:
Solihull Council needs to undertake a review of its Local Development Plan (LDP), which was adopted in December 2013. This can be viewed here: http://www.solihull.gov.uk/Portals/0/Planning/LDF/Local_Plan_Final.pdf
The reason for this includes a judicial review of the LDP (where developers went to the High Court to make Solihull increase the number of houses it needs and also over rule two sites in Tidbury Green where the council wanted them returned to the green belt). It is also acknowledged that Solihull has to co-operate with neighbours in its Housing Market Area (HMA) to accommodate some of the 37,500 dwelling shortfall in the HMA (this included those from Birmingham). We estimate that the borough should be expected to accept 2,000 from that HMA shortfall.
Therefore, in order to meet the Borough’s own housing needs a housing target of 13,500 dwellings over the period 2011-33 should be accommodated. This would mean that it would be necessary to identify sites for at least a further 4,000 dwellings over and above those planned to be built under the LDP. It is important to stress that this should be considered a minimum figure.
Draft Local Plan Review:
The resulting overall housing requirement of 14,905 dwellings over the plan period represents a target of 784 dwellings per annum. This compares with the former LDP target which was 500 dwellings per annum.
Taking into account existing commitments and assumptions about a future windfall rate, the local plan review needs to identify over 6,500 additional dwellings over and above the allocations identified in the 2013 plan.
The draft plan was considered by the Councils’ Cabinet on 10 November and an eight week local consultation period was established. This has now been extended to run until Friday 17 February. Here The Council is seeking views on the revised policies and proposed site allocations for housing and employment land, in addition to those in the existing plan.
The draft plan can be viewed here: http://www.solihull.gov.uk/Portals/0/Planning/LPR/Draft_Local_Plan_05.12.16.pdf
The next steps, after the local consultation (which is not statutory) will follow a statutory process.
In Spring 2017 the council will publish its Submission Draft plan. Following adoption by the council this will then be examined by the Planning Inspectorate, who will examine the plan in public.
At this stage representations can and will be made by many groups and individuals. These will include local resident groups and parish councils. It will also include representatives from developers and owners of land.
Those who have land included in the local plan review will surely submit for their land to remain, whilst others who did not have their land included will no doubt argue the council have got it wrong and their land should be included as well.
Following this stage the Planning Inspector will either agree to the plan or not (there may be subtle changes here and there). The plan will then be submitted to the Secretary of State, probably late summer 2017 with the plan being adopted by the Council formally in winter 2017.
The draft plan was considered by the Councils Cabinet on 10 November and an eight week local consultation period was established. This has now been extended to run until Friday 17 February.
It is possible the planning inspectorate will suggest (demand?) the Solihull plan requires more houses. If that is the case then additions/alterations will have to be made. It is not a case of being able to say ‘No’ to everything and any more houses. We need to say ‘Where’ and what infrastructure will be needed if the planning inspectorate and Secretary of State believes specific sites are appropriate for development.
The Planning Inspector will indicate what actions the borough and developers need to take and accommodate in the relevant sites. He/she will state what infrastructure requirements will be necessary at each site. For instance, in the case of Mount Dairy Farm in the 2013 LDP he stipulated extensive flood attenuation measures needed to be addressed for any planning application to succeed. These requirements usually cover highway and transportation issues, environmental factors and schools.
Local Consultation Period:
The deadline to respond to the Draft Local Plan Review has been extended to Friday 17 February.
The Council wants to hear from residents, businesses, developers and other stakeholders so that a final plan will be effective in guiding the future development of the borough and comments can be submitted via the online portal: https://solihull.jdi-consult.net/localplan/
People can discuss the plan in person with Council officers working on the Review with the final drop in session being held at Asda Shirley, Parkgate (in the café upstairs) on Monday 23 January, 10am-4pm.
What it means for Blythe Ward:
This will be the subject of another report in the next few days, focussing especially on Dickens Heath and Cheswick Green, but also highlighting the overall implications.