Solihull Local Plan adopted: Duty to Cooperate on Birmingham's housing shortfall & possible green belt review inserted by SoS
Photo by lydia_shiningbrightly of Flickr
4th December 2013
SOLIHULL will have to help meet Birmingham's overspill housing needs and faces losing precious Greenbelt in the process - The Observer can reveal.
The Council formally adopted its Local Plan - the principal planning document which sets out how and where the borough should develop - on Tuesday night.
But in doing so has had to agree to help meet Birmingham's housing needs - at the insistance of the Secretary of State who, following a detailed review, insisted on various additions before it could be legally adopted.
The most alarming of these being the following paragraph:
"Following discussions falling under the Duty to Cooperate Solihull Council recognise that evidence is emerging to indicate that Birmingham will not be able to accommodate the whole of its new housing requirement for 2011-31 within its administrative boundary and that some provision will need to be made in adjoining areas to help meet Birmingham’s needs.
"This may require a review of the Green Belt in relevant locations."
Details of an already-planned 11,018 new homes for Solihull up to 2028 are already included in the Local Plan.
Any extra homes to cater for Birmingham overspill would be additional to this and there is no indication where in the borough this provision would have to be made.
The Observer has been unable to establish whether or not the Council had any powers to reject the constroversial new condition or whether its hands have been tied by central Government's national planning agenda.
Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration, Coun Ian Courts said there was 'no specific need or definite requirement to meet and no assumption or decision as to whether Solihull will have to meet any of Birmingham’s future housing needs.'
His was, however, unable to allay fears Solihull will be forced to step up and meet Birmingham's housing shortfall at some point.
In its official release announcing the adoption of the Local Plan Solihull Council hailed it a success.
It read: "The Plan provides certainty for developers, investors, the community and wider stakeholders and will provide the Council with a five-year supply of land for housing and sufficient land to meet the housing requirement to the end of the Plan period.
Coun Courts added: “The Plan provides a platform for us to deliver growth in a managed way - maximising economic benefits and opportunities without compromising the quality of the borough’s environment and local distinctiveness which will be protected and enhanced.”
Copies of the Local Plan are available to view in any Solihull library or online at: www.solihull.gov.uk/ldf
* There is now a six-week period where objections can be made to the High Court on 'procedural terms' - not just through a disliking of the plan.
Read the statement by Solihull Council
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