Sutton Coldfield Rural responds to Cllr Pritchard's 'hands off' warning to Birmingham City Council!
Photo by paulwoolrich of Flickr
12th November 2013
Anticipation looms around the release of the draft Birmingham Development Plan 2031.
It is predicted there will be a shortfall in land capacity in Birmingham, meaning the council we be unable to meet its objectively assessed housing need, in the region of 82,000 houses. Any shortfall under the duty to cooperate, will require cross-boundary partnership so that the houses can be delivered within neighbouring boundaries, like Bromsgrove, Lichfield and North Warwickshire.
The anticipation has become too much for some, resulting in Cllr Ian Pritchard of Lichfield to issue a "hands off’ warning to its neighbours thinking of using land in Lichfield to meet their housing targets.
Comment by Sutton Coldfield Rural Campaign
Birmingham City Council’s strategy to export its 33,000 housing shortfall into neighbouring boundaries does not follow that sustainable development is achieved regionally by requiring every Local Authority to significantly boost housing supply while retaining employment within its own boundaries.
Planning should encourage and not act as a barrier to sustainable growth. The approach taken by Birmingham City Council seems to act as a constraint upon economic growth locally. This is contrary to the Government’s expectations set out in the National Planning Policy, [Para 19] which states that the planning system should do everything it can to support sustainable economic growth. As a consequence, significant weight should be placed on the need to support economic growth locally providing a balance of land uses within their area so that people can be encouraged to minimise journey lengths for employment, shopping, leisure, education and other activities.
The requirement for Birmingham City Council to significantly boost housing supply is a national policy objective NPPF .
Sutton Coldfield Rural Campaign suggest Birmingham City Council consider more commercial to residential land conversions within its own boundaries so that it can offer a more attractive, balanced mix of residential and employment land to neighbours which will boost their local economy.
Comment by BSARA
This appears to be a statement by the Conservative group controlling Lichfield District Council (LDC). It would be helpful if the Council itself could clarify its position.
As far as the Beacon Street Area Residents’ Association (BSARA) is aware, LDC is already engaged in a joint housing study which will propose options to distribute Birmingham’s 30,000 spillover homes among its neighbours. The Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) are leading this study which is due to report in the spring of 2014. So LDC and Birmingham City Council are already contributing money and officer time to this project.
Furthermore, in January 2014, Birmingham City Council is expected to commence a six week public consultation exercise regarding its Local Plan. This will set out Birmingham’s view regarding the maximum number of homes that can be accommodated within its boundaries.
So there appears to be ample opportunity for LDC to contribute suggestions, not only in identifying additional sites for housing within Birmingham’s boundaries but also the most suitable locations for the 30,000 spillover homes in neighbouring local authorities.
The examination of our District’s Local plan is incomplete and Inspector Robert Yuille has only issued his ‘Initial Findings’. BSARA would urge our senior Councillors to choose their words carefully at this sensitive time. What is to be gained by prejudging the outcome of the GBSLEP joint housing study? The GBSLEP members (Birmingham, Bromsgrove, Cannock Chase, East Staffordshire, Lichfield, Redditch, Solihull, Tamworth & Wyre Forest) should ensure that the discussion is broadened to sharing employment opportunities and development grants and to create jobs and build transport infrastructure.
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