The draft Local Development Plan Review (LDP) has been published and the 80 page document can be read here: ldp draft . It also comes with two appendices, one which shows concept master plans: ldp appendix master plans , the other what is termed ‘Amber Sites’ which officers would like to know your views on: ldp appendix amber sites
Essentially the numbers of new homes in the plan remain similar to the 2016 draft – 6,300.
What does it mean for Dickens Heath?
Residents may remember there were two sites in the 2016 draft that had relevance to Dickens Heath. Allocation 4, which had a direct impact on Dickens Heath, indicated as many as 700 new homes being built on land at the top of Tythe Barn Lane and Tilehouse Lane. There was also Allocation 13, which had no direct link but had some land within the parish boundary (between Whitlock’s Farm and Dickens Heath) some 600 new homes.
The good news in the latest plan is that Allocation 4 has been reduced from the potential to deliver 700 to 350 homes. Akamba is now not threatened of being demolished and turned into a car park. This has to be accepted as good news and is reflective of the work your borough councillors and parish council have done in the last two years. However, myself and fellow ward Councillor James Butler still have serious reservations about the proposals and remain steadfast in opposition to Allocation 4. We will be seeking its removal from the eventual plan to be submitted to the planning inspector.
Reasons for opposing Allocation 4:
The original proposal, for 700 homes, saw the removal of Akamba, removal of three sports clubs but being replaced with a first class sports hub on the current Shirley Town land. Councillors were informed by developers Sports England and the clubs had given tactic approval. This does not appear to be the case now as the Master Plan and concept plan indicates that only two pitches will be replaced. Please see the attached plan:
This itself is nonsense and will not pass any detailed examination because Policy P20 of the Councils Planning Document clearly states that any loss of recreation or sports land will need to be replaced, even to a better standard. This is not the case and I humbly suggest the sports clubs will not support this, neither will Sport England.
Information on Policy P20
Discussions with the land owner and developers had indicated the building of first class club houses to include as many as 11 different sized sports pitches, with 3G artificial turf, amongst other measures. This is clearly not the case and it is here the proposal itself will fail.
In addition to the loss of sports and recreational land there is the issue of traffic congestion. Already there is severe congestion in the village (as seen by residents and others via a previous post on this website) and once the new developments in nearby Tidbury Green are completed (a total of 400 new homes) as well as that in nearby Wythall, these will add to the existing problem. Furthermore, Allocation 12 (if approved) in nearby Cheswick Green will impact on Dickens Heath Road, Tanworth Lane and Dog Kennel Lane No further development in this area should be permitted until existing issues have been addressed. It is essential we look at how the exiting infrastructure copes before adding to the problems.
Although this has been removed from the LDP, it has been replaced by a new addition, Number 26, at Whitlock’s End Farm and the proposal is for 300 new homes there. Some of the site is within the Dickens Heath Parish Boundary but it will have no direct access to the village. See plan here: Essentially, this will pose more issues in Shirley and nearby Majors Green. However, there could be an impact on local roads in Tidbury Green and Dickens Heath.
The council’s development officers want to hear views about the proposals in the LDP. You can have your say via this link: http://solihull.jdi-consuly.net/localplan/
Please do not think everything is done and dusted. As we have seen, there has already been a reduction in numbers in the area and proves responses in the previous consultation were listened to (in part).
As well as making our own formal representations, which we will share publicly, Councillor James Butler and I have launched an online petition calling for Allocation 4 to be removed from the LDP to be submitted to the planning inspector. The rationale for opposing the site is as indicated above. Please help us in making our objections being more effective by putting your name to the online petition, which can be accessed here:
We aim to make hard copy versions available.
What Happens Next?
The consultation will run until Summer of this year and a what is called a Submission Draft Document will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate, who will appoint an Inspector who will hold an Examination in Public (essentially a length public inquiry) where interest parties (that includes us all) can contribute. This is not likely to take place until next Winter 2019/20 with an anticipated adoption of a final LDP in Spring/Summer 2020.
Please do not hesitate to contact either of us.
Cllr Ken Hawkins Cllr James Butler