Draft Plan Consultation: Additional Housing Sites in Walsall (Regulation 18)

Ended on the 5 September 2022


In the summer of 2021 the Black Country Authorities of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton consulted on a Draft Black Country Plan (the Regulation 18 Plan). This Plan identified where all new employment and housing development would be located and where investment for new infrastructure such as transport, schools and health facilities would be made.

Following a review of the consultation responses, three additional sites in Walsall are now considered potentially suitable for housing. These three sites are now subject to a formal public consultation (an additional Regulation 18 consultation) before the Black Country Plan can move to the next stage of consultation – which is the Regulation 19 Publication Plan.

Five other new sites in Walsall submitted during the 2021 consultation have been subject to site assessment and are considered not suitable for housing. Further information is available in an addendum to the Site Assessment report https://blackcountryplan.dudley.gov.uk/t2/p4/t2p4l/.

A Sustainability Appraisal of all new sites (both potentially suitable and not suitable) has also been completed. It can be found on the website https://blackcountryplan.dudley.gov.uk/t2/p7

This document should be read in conjunction with the Draft Black Country Plan published for consultation in 2021. No decision has been taken at this stage about the sites or policies proposed in that document.

Please note that, at this stage, we are only seeking views on the three additional sites in Walsall now considered potentially suitable for housing. We have noted and are analysing all consultation responses submitted in summer 2021 on the Draft Black Country Plan – these responses do not need to be submitted again.

Any responses that relate to sites or aspects covered by the 2021 Draft Black Country Plan Consultation will not be considered.


What is a Local Plan?

All Local Planning Authorities (including Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton) are required by Government to write a Local Plan that describes how the necessary development over the next 20 years or so will be handled and where development will be located.

The Local Plan is a planning document used to help decide planning applications. It considers the amount of land required to support future jobs, new housing and where additional retail, office and leisure development is needed. In addition, the Local Plan considers whether any additional supporting infrastructure (e.g. schools, utilities, health provision, public transport, cycle routes and highway improvements) is required.

What is the Black Country Plan?

The Black Country Plan is a joint Local Plan being prepared by the four Black Country Authorities (Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton). The Plan will direct where new development will be located for the Black Country up to 2039.

It will guide key issues like:

  • New Housing – where will it go? How many new homes are needed? What type of new homes will be required and how many affordable houses will be needed?
  • Provision for new employment – how much employment land is needed and where should it go?
  • What supporting infrastructure and services (e.g. transport, schools, health) will be needed and where will these be located?
  • In the face of new development how will the natural environment be protected?

Why are we reviewing the Black Country Plan?

The Government requires Local Authorities to have Local Plans that are based on up-to-date information. If a Local Plan is not up to date it will have less weight at Planning Appeals and will mean that the local planning authorities are less able to control new development. Having an up-to-date Plan helps local planning authorities to turn down inappropriate development proposed by landowners and developers.

We need to review the Black Country Plan to ensure that we can plan for new homes and jobs in the right places. If we don't review the plan, we risk seeing unplanned development which might not be supported by the right services and facilities.

Do we have a Plan in place now?

Yes - our current Plan, called the Black Country Core Strategy, was formally adopted in 2011. This Plan provided the framework to allocate enough housing and employment land to meet the Black Country's development needs up to 2026. To ensure these targets are met, sites are allocated through other local plan documents - in Walsall these are the Walsall Site Allocation Document and Walsall Town Centre Area Action Plan.

When the new Black Country Plan is finished and adopted it will replace the Black Country Core Strategy and most of the Walsall Site Allocation Document. To be adopted the Plan must first be examined by an Independent Planning Inspector and approved by Councillors from all four authorities.

When did we start preparing the Black Country Plan?

We started to prepare the Black Country Plan in 2017. We held a public consultation in July – September 2017 on the issues facing the Black Country and some possible solutions. Following the Issues and Options consultation we consulted on the Draft Black Country Plan (Regulation 18) for eight weeks in August – October 2021. The Draft Plan considered the responses we received to the Issues and Options consultation along with a range of other technical studies produced on planning issues.

What are the next stages of the Plan?

The next stage is the production of a Regulation 19 Publication Plan. The Regulation 19 Plan will be informed by the Regulation 18 consultation responses and any new evidence. The Regulation 19 consultation will seek representations only on the soundness and legality of the Plan preparation process, which is the main criteria considered by the Planning Inspectorate at the future examination in public, rather than the content of the Plan. For this reason, new proposed site allocations cannot be added at Regulation 19 stage and therefore an additional Regulation 18 consultation is required for the three additional sites in Walsall now considered potentially suitable for housing.

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