Please note: This article is designed to give an explanation of how the council arrived at its decision and does not reflect my opinion of the overall scheme or decision.
Birmingham City Council’s Core Strategy Consultation Draft was published for public consultation in 2010. There was a review of growth levels in light of changes to the planning system, ie the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and abolition of the west Midlands RSS.
The Council says it has a requirement to build around 80,000 houses over the next 15-20 years with only capacity to build 45,000 units. It also claims the shortfall in employment land provision is increasingly acute and most likely demand of 407 hectares versus an identified supply of 173 hectares.
The Sutton Coldfield green belt Options Consultation
The Council went to public consultation at the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013. About 1,550 responses were submitted, including 1,400 from Sutton Coldfield residents and a petition against building on the Sutton Coldfield green belt with 2,626 signatures was submitted.
There was an overwhelming majority against green belt development, with the most significant raising concerns over inadequate infrastructure and the environment.
A number of statutory bodies were unable to identify any showstoppers preventing development on the green belt. While landowners and developers were not surprisingly in favour on green belt development, but differ over sites.
This is a wakeup call to residents living near green belt area A and B. Expect the developers and landowners who missed out to put up an almighty fight when the plan goes to examination.
In response to local comments, a number of detailed studies were undertaken, including further work on city-wide housing capacity, reassessment of employment land requirement and supply and assessment of potential housing delivery.
The housing delivery assessment suggested that from 3,500 up to a maximum of 5,000 homes can be delivered within the plan period.
Technical studies on the green belt areas, such as transport, landscape, archaeology, biodiversity and infrastructure were also carried out
Green Belt Options
The Council carried out a three stage review based on the National Planning Policy Framework.
Stage 1 reconsidered green belt areas outside of North East Birmingham but not further potential was identified outside of the option areas previously consulted upon.
Stage 2 examined option A – D in more detail based on expert assessments with the results in a number of areas discount ted mainly on landscape, archaeology, ecology and purpose of the green belt grounds. The remaining areas were taken through to stage 3.
Stage 3 rated the final areas to identify best options for housing and employment development. The criteria used included – purpose of the green belt, deliverability, archaeology and the historic environment, landscape and visual effects, ecology, agricultural land quality, transport connectivity, transport capacity and site capacity.
This concluded area C (Langley) sustainable for an urban extension and Area D (Peddimore) for employment.
Sutton Coldfield Area C - Langley
The development will be made up of a mixture of housing with a focus on family housing built to the highest design.
There will be a range of supporting facilities including 2 primary schools, 1 secondary school, health care facilities and local shops.
The development will also include improvements to highway infrastructure, including a new junction from the A38, public transport improvements and cycling and walking connections.
Sutton Coldfield Area D - Peddimore
The scheme will be designed to minimise the impact on the green belt through significant buffer areas and reinstatement of historic hedgerows to reinforce the green belt boundary to the North and East.
The site will include new access from the A38 with improved bus services and possible SPRINT for the A38 / Park and Ride facilities.
Requirement identified for significant uplift in public transport.
Birmingham’s overspill housing – Duty to Cooperate
Birmingham has identified a significant housing provision needed in adjoining local authorities.
A joint housing needs study commissioned by the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP (GBSLEP) will be completed by the end of February 2014 and the outcome will be reflected in the Development Plan. The Council says this is a difficult and uncertain process.