Question 27 - Do you have evidence of pressure being placed on the capacity of current physical infrastructure which could be exacerbated by new developments? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

Showing comments and forms 1 to 11 of 11

Support

Black Country Core Strategy Issue and Option Report

Representation ID: 29

Received: 29/07/2017

Respondent: Colin Knipe

Representation:

A good example is the A491 Kingswinford to Stourbridge Road where successive adjacent developments have strained services and overloaded the highway, badly affecting public transport as well as delivery vehicles, cars etc.

Full text:

A good example is the A491 Kingswinford to Stourbridge Road where successive adjacent developments have strained services and overloaded the highway, badly affecting public transport as well as delivery vehicles, cars etc.

Comment

Black Country Core Strategy Issue and Option Report

Representation ID: 716

Received: 04/10/2017

Respondent: Mr Greg Ball

Representation:

Paragraph 5.12 is incorrect in implying the current transport situation is satisfactory. The motorways are struggling, and any disruption, such as the current strengthening of the M5 viaducts, creates major problems for long-distance and local travellers.

Full text:

Note: questions numbers are those in the full strategy document.
Question 2 Evidence
Housing
The Housing studies do not seem to adequately examine migration flows. In considering options for addressing any shortfall in housing supply, it would be helpful to have information on flows of migrants between the study area, Birmingham and other parts of the former west Midlands region. The Black Country receives many migrants from Birmingham but exports people to other areas including Telford and Shropshire. Thus there are important links to areas outside of the HMA. The EDNA contains useful analysis of commuting flows. indicating the wider area to which the Black Country relates.
The analysis should examine the age composition of different migration flows. Previous studies indicated that people moving from the Black Country into nearby areas tended to have higher proportions of families with children and be from higher paid backgrounds. Understanding of these flows will help to plan for house types and supporting facilities and transport that will be required if more development is needed in the Green Belt and beyond.
Much of the projected housing growth stems from net international migration; this is reflected directly in the ONS projections for the Black Country and also indirectly in the projected migration flows from Birmingham. This is a topic of great uncertainty. Flows since 2014 have been higher than in the ONS projections, but post-Brexit policies may reduce flows greatly. Given the scale of growth envisaged, some assessment of the range of uncertainty is required by sound planning.
Transport
The collection of evidence on traffic impacts should not just focus on peak flows into the major centres, given the dispersed pattern of employment across the Black Country and the increase in traffic associated with the school run. Traffic congestion is apparent through many parts of the Black Country and for longer periods of the day than in the past. Delays and pollution as key junctions should be monitored.
If new peripheral housing is proposed then the impacts on the whole network should be considered, not just in the vicinity of the proposed developments, as residents in existing built-up areas already
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suffer the effects of increasing congestion. Many residents of new developments will travel back into the Black Country and Birmingham for work and other purposes. For example, do you have any data on the effects of the development on the former Baggeridge site on peak flows on the already congested routes between Gospel End, Sedgley and into the Black Country?
Health
The effects of traffic and congestion and proximity to existing polluting industries health should also be examined.
Question 3: Housing Need
At this stage I would not wish to offer an opinion on methodology in relation to Government guidance. My view is that Government's requirements for methodology are flawed; it remains to be seen if the new standard method improves the situation.
The scale of housing need is very large but it is wise to have a strategy for the projected growth as this may be required in the longer term even if the projections are too high. However, I have two reservations about planning for this level of growth under current planning rules, which are naive, deterministic and inflexible.
Firstly, my experience as a user and producer of demographic, housing and employment information has shown the severe limitations of knowledge and the difficulties of forecasting the future with any precision or certainty. As to economic forecasts, it seems that even at national level, these amount to little more than guesswork even in the short-term. Forecasts can easily be revised, and often have been, and even information about past trends is recast (e.g. after the 2011 Census) . Long-term development decisions are not that easily undone, and the real impacts can be very large and enduring. The estimation of housing 'need' and the adoption of policies to meet that need should ideally be based on weighing evidence, taking account of its quality and reliability, against real impacts on the ground, together with an understanding of risks.
Secondly, a sensible planning system would provide long-term direction with flexibility and phasing to reflect changes in demographic trends and economic conditions. However, current planning rules are deterministic and inflexible. My concern with policies to meet the large projected housing growth is whether and how the release of a vast amount of greenfield land can be controlled without jeopardising the regeneration of the core Black Country. The focus on new development can lead to a failure to consider the implications for the economic, social and environmental interests and needs of most Black Country residents. Once Green Belt land is made available, it will be developed first unless strong phasing policies can be put in place.
Question 4. Employment Land Requirements
It is very important to allow scope for major employment developments. The i54 site is a good example of the benefits of long-term planning. That said, the amount of land proposed seems large in relation to what is likely to be achieved. My concern is that much land originally identified for industry or offices in the past has gone for some form of retail or more recently distribution: valuable land close to Motorway junctions has gone for retail or logistics. These uses are important but generate lots of traffic on strategic routes and provide jobs that are either low-paid or don't
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contribute much to the local economy. This may simply happen again if too much land is identified for industrial or office use.
I am also concerned about the seeming reluctance to tackle the undesirable legacy of the Black Country's long mining and industrial past (paragraph 3.9). This area's long and complex industrial history has left a juxtaposition of dirty, low value uses close to housing. Unless this is addressed, the area will not attract higher income residents, whose spending is vital to improving the local economy and its shopping and cultural facilities. Queen Victoria is supposed to have drawn the curtains as her train travelled between Brum and Wolverhampton; the view today is not so bad but the image that is presented to the millions who traverse the motorway, rail and canal routes through our area is far from appealing.
Other businesses thrive but are now badly located, making them less efficient and often generating traffic and environmental problems for local residents. I live near an oil-mixing plant that brings in tankers from across Europe. Unfortunately it is close to housing, quite noisy at night and a source of traffic congestion as the access is poor. It is also in a key canal-side location which could be an environmental and economic asset, being close to the major museums of the Black Country.
Given the amount of land that is being set aside for employment, it is important that a proportion is set aside for businesses that should relocate. This will include areas for 'dirty' uses.
Key Issue 5: Green Belt Review
If the required amount of development cannot be accommodated within the existing built up area, then some Green Belt Land will be needed. However, such a review should be undertaken as part of a wider investigation of options as peripheral development may not be the most desirable in terms of environment, sustainability and the well-being of the population.
The investigation should be wider in terms of
 geography - involving councils in Shropshire, Staffordshire and Worcestershire, as well as those in the Grater Birmingham HMA
 history - being informed by lessons from the past about new and expanded towns and peripheral developments on the edge of the conurbation.
 full impacts - not only on the immediate localities but also on the wider conurbation, for example through increased traffic flows back into employment and shopping areas.
 the proper role and value of the Green Belt - We live in the heart of the Black Country, but Green Belt allows us access to open countryside within about two miles of our house. It provides a breathing space, somewhere to walk and a visual relief from the congested and busy metropolitan area. Green Belt development would not affect my immediate living environment but it would make living where I am less desirable.
Question 6 Key Issues
No
Transport (or keeping the Black Country Connected).
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This fails to properly acknowledge the widespread problems of existing traffic congestion within the Black Country and on the national motorway routes. HS2 offer opportunities but also threats to the Black Country's rail connectivity. Congestion, coupled with the still poor environment in many areas is a barrier to building a more prosperous and liveable Black Country.
The plan needs to be informed by the Transport Strategy, but the large amounts of development will require the Transport Strategy to change. The scale of development envisaged will have major impacts on traffic flows across the whole area. It should not be assumed that the proposals in the Transport Strategy are all that will be required. The horse pulls the cart but the driver should be in charge of both.
Economy. The same point as for transport. The relationship with the economic strategy should be two-way. Planning is about balancing competing priorities. The economy, and aspirational economic strategies, can change rapidly - will the Midlands Engine still be working in 5 years time? The impacts of development and changes in the environment are more enduring.
Question7: Vision and principles
Agree that these values remain appropriate.
Question8: Spatial Objectives
1. Major centres. Trends in retailing and services have changed rapidly with the increased use of internet and direct delivery of goods and the decline in local banking and other public and commercial premise-based services. These add to the long-term challenges that have afflicted centres over previous decades. It is necessary to reappraise their role perhaps looking to increasing residential and leisure uses.
2. Employment is key but the emphasis on logistics may need to be reviewed and increased attention paid to innovative manufacturing. HGV drivers report and call at West Midlands' depots but they may live far away; manufacturing can provide well-paid jobs for local people.
8. Should include educational facilities at all levels. Sustain role of the universities and allow for expansion of schools to meet the growing child population ( a 26,000 increase 2014-2039 according to ONS).
9 and 10. Significant stocks of re-usable minerals and construction material will continue to become available through redevelopment of older sites. The recovery of this and conversion into new products or energy should take place within the Black Country, subject to environmental and health standards.
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Question 11
Neither, but 1B preferable. The strategies should commit to exploring sustainable options beyond the Green Belt as part of a major strategic review across a broader geography.
Release of existing employment sites: improve local amenity for nearby residents; do they suffer poor location and access in relation to nature and amount of vehicle movements; vacant for a long period; appearance.
Question 12A.
Some 'rounding off' may be acceptable but not supported as a major contributor to needs. This is a soft option, which is easiest to deliver for authorities and builders, but very unsatisfactory. Developers will build these sites first, unless strict phasing is imposed, and this will undermine regeneration and the more sustainable options.
Internal wedges can be very valuable in providing access to open space for a large number of residents. If land is released in this way, developments must be required to provide a substantial amount of accessible open space and footpaths to maintain and improve local amenity.
The cumulative wider impact on services and traffic locally and across a wider area would be large but would be difficult to relate to any specific development. This would create problems in securing developer contributions.
In reviewing the peripheral boundaries it is vital to consider the visual impact on the perception of sprawl and separation between settlements. The mere physical distance between built-up areas is not the sole criterion for assessing boundaries. In some cases it may be possible to allow expansion if new development is shielded by woodland etc. In other cases a proposed development might leave a physical gap, but through placement (e.g. on a ridge) may erode the perception of separation.
Question 13a
If Green Belt land is needed then this option could satisfy that need in part. Strategic infrastructure (transport) should be specified as should the employment content. Ideally should make provision for affordable housing, most realistically through shared ownership. Peripheral development in the Green Belt raises the same issues as mentioned in Question 15c and these should be assessed when considering such development.
This option should be assessed in parallel with consideration of sustainable developments outside the Black Country Green Belt - see question 15.
Question 14 The Black Country has large areas of low density housing developed during the period 1920-1950s and includes Social Housing, ex- Council housing bought through Right-to-Buy and privately built estates. Much of the housing is sound, but will deteriorate without maintenance and investment. Many owners struggle to maintain their properties and their often large gardens.
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Ultimately this issue will need to be addressed, possibly through redevelopment; the diversity of tenures will be a challenge. Selective redevelopment would offer the opportunity to improve housing conditions, save energy and increase densities. It may also allow the development of 'aspirational' housing for higher income householders. The viability and contribution of such redevelopment should be explored before large areas of greenfield land are developed.
Questions 15 The scope for 'exporting' growth to other sustainable locations beyond the Green Belt should be explored in parallel with the Green Belt Review to ensure that the most sustainable options are identified. However, the search should extend beyond the Greater Birmingham HMA as the Black Country relates strongly to areas in Staffs, Shropshire and Worcestershire.
In relation to question 15c, many rural areas face challenges in labour supply as their population ages; new housing can help and also take up spare capacity in schools etc. This may reduce the impacts on commuting of spreading development further. However, it may be necessary to also divert some employment development also to these areas, to avoid generating additional in-commuting.
A new settlement should be considered as part of this approach. To be viable and provide a good range of facilities it should aim for an eventual size roughly the same as Codsall, Penkridge or Wombourne. A possible location would be in a triangle north of the M54 and west of the M6. This is close to the Jaguar development and could be linked to regeneration and transport improvements, with Park and Ride, along the A449 into Wolverhampton
Questions 16-20 The strategy should provide a mix of locations to meet a diverse range of needs, so the preferred option should be a mix of the options.
Question 24 At a personal level we became aware of the pressure on local school places when we investigated moving our grandson and his mother into the Black Country; no primary places were available within reasonable travelling distance. A new local school has recently been built on a sports ground; this will create traffic problems on an already congested route. It is important that the plan identifies the amount of land needed for new facilities, such as schools, and specifies requirements in terms of access and parking. It may be easier to provide facilities in association with larger new housing developments, in which case housing mix should be designed for families with children.
Question 25 In considering peripheral developments, it will be important to consider any deficiencies in social etc provision within existing adjoining areas. In this way, new development can be 'sold' to existing residents affected by new developments.
Questions 26 and 27.
New developments offer the chance for micro-generation and efficiency in energy use. Guidance should be prepared to ensure that developments are designed with energy efficiency in mind.
Question 27 Paragraph 5.12 is incorrect in implying the current transport situation is satisfactory. The motorways are struggling, and any disruption, such as the current strengthening of the M5 viaducts, creates major problems for long-distance and local travellers. Traffic on local roads has grown greatly in the 10 years since I have lived here. The peak now extends from about 3.30pm to
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nearing 7pm. Only yesterday i had to travel from Tipton to Sedgely at 1615; a 2.5 mile journey too 25 minutes! Local roads can be near to gridlock at peak times.
Industrial traffic mingles with local traffic to the detriment of both. There are clear benefits to be had by providing sites closer to main roads, so that firms to can relocate while staying within the area.
The Birmingham-Wolverhampton railway runs at capacity and offers little opportunity to increase the frequency of services, particularly serving local stations.
Walking and cycling need to be encouraged but this be requires safe and convenient routes? I can cycle to the station in 4 minutes and walk in 10, but to do so I have to crossing several roads, only one of which is safe to cross.
The metro extension to Brierley Hill will be welcome but the area needs to follow the lead set by Greater Manchester and develop a proper network: for example extending south to Stourbridge Junction.
Question 30.
A thorny question! One approach might be to use affordability contributions from Green Belt sites to fund affordable housing in the built-up area. This might prove attractive to developers, but might also exacerbate social polarisation. Evidence on wider traffic impacts of peripheral developments might be used as a leaver for contributions to improvements on key transport corridors. In reality only a restrictive policy on greenfield development will secure urban regeneration.
Question 32.
Support the idea of HIAs
Question 33
Policies to improve the environment in existing built-up areas should take account of health benefits. Policies to address lifestyle-related problems should be addressed through policies that make walking and cycling more attractive. More restrictive policies on fast-food outlets are needed, although this is a bit late given the proliferation of existing outlets.
Question 34a.
Yes. The impact of new developments on existing residents should also be considered as part of the strategic review. Often the impacts of a new development are felt away from the site - most obviously through increased traffic on already congested roads. It would be useful also to have health impact assessments for those existing areas where there are likely environmental factors, pollution, noise, air quality issues.
Question 38
If Green Belt developments cannot meet existing accessibility requirements can they be regarded as sustainable? Peripheral development will generate more car travel and longer distances. If a
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development cannot reach the standards set, would it be possible to require offset contributions to improve accessibility and public transport elsewhere (e.g. in adjoining built-up areas)?
Question 47
Yes. If it is necessary to develop Green Belt for housing then this policy should aim to recoup some of the higher development values realised for enhanced contribution to services. It important that new developments set aside sufficient land for provision of schools and the like. Greenfield sites are likely to appeal to those setting up free schools. Unfortunately this is socially divisive, but it may necessary to ensure that enough school places are provided.
Question 49
The policy on release of existing employment land should protect existing businesses and viable enterprises, but should also identify major sites that could be redeveloped for housing or other uses. It should also include criteria for assessing windfall redevelopments that cover the amenity of local residents and any existing traffic and parking problems. An adequate selection of sites suitable for relocating businesses should be identified.
Question 55
Policy should be retained/enhanced.
Question 56
It is not clear whether the list includes the Dudley Canal Portal. It should as there is a for improvements to the highway, public transport and pedestrian access to and from the site.
Consideration should be given to including the former Chance's glassworks given its key position alongside the canal, motorway and railway routes through the Black Country, and the recent formation of a Trust aiming to secure restoration.
It is important that all developments close to and adjoining the canals should enhance this important network of routes and attractions, improving access where appropriate. Opportunities to provide facilities for boat users should be encouraged as should the provision of shops, cafes and other services for boat users and those visiting the canals.
Questions 58-61 and 82
The relevance of policies for many of the district and local centres is open to question. Many smaller centres are dominated by fast-food outlets, It is also time to reassess the boundaries of some.
There may be a need to review policy criteria that apply to the new breed of medium size supermarkets (e.g. ADLI, LIDL) which are springing up in other locations (e.g. the Priory in Dudley). Not sure of the size of these in relation to thresholds for out-of-centre developments (covered by CEN6 and 7) referred to in paragraphs 6.1.11-13.
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Questions 69-73
There is a need to consider some conversion/redevelopment for housing within centres, even if this reduces retail floorspace. New housing can help to support, and lead to development, of a wider range of convenience shops - as in Birmingham centre.
Question 72
As above. Vacancy rates in all centres, large and small have remained high for many years. It is now time to accept reality. It must be remembered that in some older centres, what were once houses were turned into shops. It may be time to reverse the process.
Question 79 Need a restrictive policy on fast-food outlets in residential areas.
Question 86 Is there a policy covering the loss of public houses to other uses?
Question 88. Transport priorities will need to be reassessed in conjunction with the development of the strategic locations for housing and employment growth. As a resident, my view is that the area has major transport problems which can only be met by a much more ambitious programme for modal shift plus selective road improvements.
Connectivity to HS2 will be a major issue presenting opportunities and threats. HS1 has had mixed impacts in different parts of Kent, massively improving access for towns that are on the HS network, while adversely affecting the cost and quality of train services for many other areas.
Question 92
Support the concept of a coherent walking and cycling strategy, but reserve judgment on content of existing strategy. The canal network provides the most strategic long-distance routes, but unfortunately much of it is poor quality. Suggest you visit Sheffield/Rotherham to look at the River Don cycleway, or perhaps Leicester for cycle routes along former railways.
It is important that major new developments contain adequate facilities for cyclists and pedestrians, and where possible provide through routes that can create a longer route. Too many recent developments (e.g. Castlegate in Dudley) are bike/pedestrian unfriendly). In other cases opportunities to create new routes have been lost: e.g. the swimming pool and adjoining hew housing estates on Alexandra Road/Church Lane Tipton.

Comment

Black Country Core Strategy Issue and Option Report

Representation ID: 735

Received: 08/09/2017

Respondent: Hagley Parish Council

Representation:

A major issue in Hagley is the level of traffic on A456, part of which is the busiest A‐class road in Hagley. Parts of this are a single carriageway road, though wide enough for three lanes of traffic. Development that would exacerbate traffic on A456 should be unacceptable. A456, where it passes through part of Dudley Borough as the Quinton Expressway and Halesowen Bypass (Manor Lane) are congested to an unacceptable extent. Occasionally at peak times traffic is backing up from the Grange roundabout (with A459 and B4551) as far as M5 J3, 2 km back. We know of evidence of southbound traffic on M5 leaving at J4 (rather than J3) to avoid this congestion.

Full text:

Re ‐ Response of Hagley Parish Council to Black Country Core Strategy consultation
Hagley Parish Council welcomes the opportunity to respond to the consultation. It does not want to comment on many of the aspects of the consultation, which it considers to be internal matters to be determined by the residents of the four Black Country boroughs. Our comments are accordingly limited to a few aspects of BCCS, where it is liable to have an impact, direct or indirect on our parish.
Keep the Green Belt intact Hagley is a commuter settlement of about 6500 people. The parish adjoins the southern boundary of Stourbridge,
one of the constituent towns of Dudley MBC. The built area of Hagley is separated from that of Pedmore (in Stourbridge) by a very narrow strip of countryside. Along Worcester Lane, Pedmore, the gap is 500 metres, and even this is interrupted by the presence of Treherns Farm buildings. Along Stourbridge Road, there is no gap at all on the west side, but 600 metres on the east side. One of the purposes of Green Belt is to keep towns from coalescing. This is a very sensitive narrow gap, which should be retained to prevent Hagley from coalescing with Stourbridge.

Whether Hagley should be classified as a village or a town is debateable. Hagley certainly has some (but not all) of the characteristics of a market town as defined in the former West Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy, policy RR3:
 It has a relationship with a rural hinterland, in that it has a shopping centre (in Worcester Road) to which people come to shop.
 However, it does not have a balance between employment and housing, not is there potential for this.
 It does not have a planned and coordinated local transport network.
 It fits in terms of a population in the range 2,000‐20,000
 Its capacity to grow is questionable.

The consultation document indicates that any Green Belt Review needed has not been undertaken. It appears to imply that cross‐boundary reviews will only look at encroachment into the South Staffordshire Green Belt, not that in Bromsgrove district: the four Black Country Boroughs appear not to have sought cooperation from Bromsgrove DC. As a matter of NIMBE views, we have to welcome the lack of encroachment.

A456, between Hayley Green and M5 J3 forms a robust landscape boundary between the conurbation and the Green Belt. Allowing development to breach this barrier would be a very serious matter indeed.

Housing and other development targets There has been a longstanding policy of segregating housing and industry into separate zones. Where small employment sites become redundant, it may well be appropriate for them to become housing sites, but this needs to be judged on a case by case basis. There should always be a preference for development to be on brownfield sites. However these are a renewable resource, not a fixed one. It is likely that new ones will become available, for example small poorly‐located employment sites. Any option to release green fields for development should be held back to force developers to
bring brownfield sites forward. Another of the five purposes of Green Belt is to encourage urban regeneration.

Accordingly, it is concluded that some green fields must be released to provide a long‐term land reserve for development, that land should be given a safeguarded status, with a relatively simple mechanism for its release, probably involving a single consultation, an Examination, and the adoption of a Supplementary Plan, with a trigger point of the housing or employment land supply falling to (perhaps) seven years' requirement. This will discourage developers from grabbing green fields before that is necessary.

Housing and other development targets

There has been a tendency in many Plans to apply subjective factors to distort Objectively Assessed Need to produce subjectively assessed targets to meet the aspirations of developers and politicians. NPPF requires councils only to meet Objectively Assessed Need. Furthermore, it is legitimate for LPAs to decide that they cannot fully accommodate their Objectively Assessed Need due to other constraints on what is available, including that the land is designated as Green Belt. NPPF further provides that the release of Green Belt through a Local Plan
Review (which of course includes the review of BCCS) should only take place in "exceptional circumstances", which it does not define further. The recent Housing White Paper proposed to gloss this term, by saying that all other options should have been considered before Green Belt release was undertaken. The present consultation document fails to establish that the required "exceptional circumstances" exist.

We regard the alleged housing land deficit in Birmingham as exaggerated. We suspect that the computations undertaken for BCCS also tend to exaggerate the need. This is partly because the Plan is intended to run until 2036, whereas the plans of most other authorities in the region expire a few years earlier.

The series of reports undertaken by Peter Brett Associates into how the alleged Birmingham housing land deficit could be met ultimately come up with no definite conclusions. One of the difficulties that its compilers found a great lack of consistency between the methods adopted by different LPAs for compiling their SHLAAs; in the case of BCCS, replaced by a HELAA. This inconsistency has been carried forward in the four separate borough‐wide reports lying behind the Black Country's HELAA. If the new BCCS is to become a sound Plan, the evidence‐base
lying behind it must be compiled in a consistent manner between the four boroughs.

Improve major highways

A major issue in Hagley is the level of traffic on A456, part of which is the busiest A‐class road in Hagley. Parts of
this are a single carriageway road, though wide enough for three lanes of traffic. Development that would
exacerbate traffic on A456 should be unacceptable. A456, where it passes through part of Dudley Borough as the
Quinton Expressway and Halesowen Bypass (Manor Lane) are congested to an unacceptable extent. Occasionally
at peak times traffic is backing up from the Grange roundabout (with A459 and B4551) as far as M5 J3, 2 km back.
We know of evidence of southbound traffic on M5 leaving at J4 (rather than J3) to avoid this congestion.
The last works carried out on the Grange roundabout made little difference to the congestion, though they may
have had a marginal effect on road safety. This island has been laid out through the unthinking application of a
text‐book design, which would be appropriate if all four arms of the crossroads were reasonably equal; but they
are not in this case. The volume of traffic entering and leaving B4551 is modest compared to the other arms. The
junction needs to be thought of as a T‐junction with a minor fourth arm, not as a standard crossroads.
 The ideal solution would be a tunnel to take one lane of traffic each way under the island, which should
alleviate congestion very considerably. By taking Hagley to Birmingham traffic off the roundabout the
flow of Birmingham to Halesowen traffic should be improved. By taking Birmingham to Hagley traffic
Website: www.hagleyparishcouncil.gov.uk. Email: clerk@hagleyparishcouncil.gov.uk
under it, its flow should become better, though a queue of vehicles trying to reach Halesowen is likely to
remain.
 Alternatively, the island needs to be altered so that three lanes of traffic can use the island abreast going

Support

Black Country Core Strategy Issue and Option Report

Representation ID: 1164

Received: 08/09/2017

Respondent: Canal & River Trust

Representation:

The canal network is a form of strategic and local infrastructure and performs multiple functions, including sustainable transport, open space, green infrastructure, land drainage and water supply as well as flood alleviation, which is likely to be affected by all scales and types of development

70% of the population in the Black Country live within 1km of a canal. This makes them easily accessible to large numbers of people and presents a key asset and opportunity for the development / regeneration of the Black Country.

Many new developments adjacent to the canals reference the canal towpath in their application submissions, but there is often little investment from the developer to improve these routes.

Local Growth Fund has enabled significant improvements of towpaths in some areas, which have seen up to a 60% increase in use, but further investment is necessary if the opportunities for improving sustainable access around areas of redevelopment are to be realised.

The Trust wish to highlight the potential of the canal to provide / contribute to provision of other physical infrastructure. The potential for inland waterways to contribute to the low carbon economy and build resilience should also consider new energy technologies such as biomass capacity, and the identification of waste streams such as from the operation and maintenance of waterway management for recycling, reuse and energy from waste markets.
The canal network provides readily available opportunities for developments to incorporate innovative technologies to make use of its water such as the abstraction of canal water for cooling purposes and/or for heating purposes where there is a sufficient flow of water to sustain this use and the canal towpath for the running of pipelines etc. which need to be more greatly encouraged.

The water flowing through the Trust's waterways which pass through most major cities in England contains enough thermal energy to produce approximately 640 MW of energy. This has attracted a number of businesses which now utilise this low carbon source to heat and cool their buildings. DECC too have acknowledged this potential in their Heat Map which includes a specific canal layer. The energy is extracted using water sourced heat pumps which are very efficient compared to conventional forms of heating and cooling. These efficiency improvements will help reduce the electricity demand and assist in balancing electricity supply.

The Document should be amended to include reference to the potential of the canal network to contribute to low carbon technologies.

There is also potential for surface water drainage to the canal which could be referenced in the document. The waterway network presents a number of opportunities to support and enhance urban development, with particular reference to water management. Water levels in the canal network are managed by the Trust using control structures such as weirs and sluices to maintain a suitable depth for navigation by boats, but also to try to avoid water levels becoming too high in periods of heavy rainfall where runoff from hard surfaces can lead to excess water passing into the canals.

With careful design and assessment, canals may be able to receive runoff from future development sites, providing sustainable options for site drainage (although mitigation works to the canal infrastructure may be necessary to cope with this.) This may allow development of sites that would otherwise not be viable due to flood risk concerns with alternative site drainage options. The ability of canals to accept surface water run-off may also assist in wider consideration of flood mitigation measures given the managed nature of canal water levels.

In addition, there may be potential for the canal to be used for the installation of services, pipes/cables etc which could be highlighted.
With the increasing importance of digital connectivity the waterways provide established corridors through the heart of urban areas with the potential to accommodate infrastructure with relatively little disturbance in comparison to, for example, digging up main roads and pavements in busy locations. There is a real opportunity to maximise the use of the Trusts existing fibre optic networks and the canal corridor and Trusts land holdings for the provision of new and improved infrastructure around densely populated areas, such as the routing of infrastructure for district heating schemes and increasing mobile cell density to create 4G and 5G towns and cities.

Full text:


Re: Black Country Core Strategy Review

Thank you for your consultation on the above document.

The Canal & River Trust (the Trust) is the guardian of 2,000 miles of historic waterways across England and Wales. We are among the largest charities in the UK. Our vision is that "living waterways transform places and enrich lives".
Following consideration of the document we have the following comments to make:
The waterways can be used as tools in place making and place shaping, and contribute to the creation of sustainable communities. We seek for any development to relate appropriately to the waterway, minimise the ecological impacts and optimise the benefits such a location can generate for all parts of the community.
The waterways span several local authority boundaries and it is therefore important to ensure that there is a clear and consistent approach to development. There is a recognised need to strengthen existing planning policy at all the different spatial levels in order to provide robust planning policy frameworks that supports canals, rivers and docks as a cross-cutting policy theme; acknowledging the value of canals, rivers and docks/wharves, in terms of
* being a form of strategic and local infrastructure performing multiple functions (including sustainable transport, open space and green infrastructure, land drainage and water supply as well as flood alleviation), which is likely to be affected by all scales and types of development;
* their roles in improving the physical environment, opportunities for people and the wider economy;

* their contribution to supporting climate change, carbon reduction and environmental sustainability;
* * the public benefits that can be and are being generated by our canals, rivers and docks/wharves;
* * support future development, regeneration and improvement of canals, rivers and docks/wharves;
* * protect the heritage, environmental and recreational value of canals, rivers and docks and to safeguard them against inappropriate development;
* * support their ability to deliver economic, social and environmental benefits to local communities and the nation, (currently valued at in excess of £500 million per annum);
* * secure the long-term sustainability of inland waterway network, their corridors and adjoining communities; and
* * their contribution to promoting Health and Wellbeing
The Core Strategy is therefore a key document in setting the overarching planning and regeneration policies across the area and ensuring a co-ordinated approach to the waterways across the Black Country.
The Trust therefore welcome continued support and recognition for the waterways but consider opportunities exist to strengthen Policies and further highlight the importance of the canal network to the Black Country

INDIVIDUAL QUESTIONS for EACH REP

Attachments:

Comment

Black Country Core Strategy Issue and Option Report

Representation ID: 1211

Received: 06/09/2017

Respondent: South Staffordshire Council, Planning and Strategic Services

Representation:

We have no evidence with regard to physical infrastructure needs in the Black Country. However, it is acknowledged that large scale new development (for example SUEs) are likely to require substantial upfront infrastructure provision.

Full text:

South Staffordshire Council response to the Black Country Core Strategy Issues and Options consultation

Purpose and scope of the review.

Question 1 - Do you agree that the Core Strategy review should be a partial review, retaining and stretching the existing spatial strategy and updating existing policies? Yes/No; if not, what do you think should be the scope of the review?

It is acknowledged that the existing spatial strategy of focusing urban regeneration at the Growth Network has been successful. This strategy aimed to deliver regeneration in the Black Country and prevents the outward movement of people and investment from the MUA. The South Staffordshire Core Strategy was developed as a counterpoint to this and looked to limit development to meeting locally identified needs. Recent developments in the Black Country have shown this to be an effective strategy and therefore it seems sensible to explore if there is scope to stretch the existing spatial strategy in the first instance.

This acknowledged, it is clear that the challenges now faced are very different from those faced when the current Black Country South Staffordshire Core Strategies were developed. Principally, it is clear that the Black Country housing and employment shortfall (25,000 dwellings and 300ha of employment land) cannot be wholly met within the urban area and that some Green Belt release is inevitable. The NPPF (Paragraph 83) is clear that Green Belt boundaries should only be altered in exceptional circumstances, and as such, all reasonable non-Green Belt options should be fully explored. The Government's recent Housing White Paper makes it clear that demonstrating exceptional circumstances for Green Belt release is a high bar, and Green Belt boundaries should only be amended where authorities can demonstrate they have examined all other reasonable options, including effective use of suitable brownfield sites and estate regeneration. Therefore brownfield sites should be maximised as far as possible - both within and outside the existing Growth Network. Similarly, whilst recognising that estate regeneration is very challenging, if this option is not going to be pursued then the plan should set out the reasons why this is not considered a viable and deliverable option.

Key Issue 1 - Updating the evidence base

Question 2 - Do you think that the key evidence set out in Table 1 is sufficient to support the key stages of the Core Strategy review? Yes/No; If not, what further evidence is required and, if there are any particular issues that should be taken into account in considering development on any particular sites or in any particular areas, please provide details.

The Council agrees that all the key evidence based studies identified with Table 1 are necessary. However, which evidence based documents are required may depend on which options for growth are progressed. It is acknowledged that a Landscape Character Assessment will form part of the HMA Strategic Growth Study however a Landscape Sensitivity Study considering the relative sensitivity of land cover parcels will also be required. The Issues and Options confirms that the Core Strategy will allocate strategic sites, and therefore dependent on which options for growth are pursued, it may be appropriate to undertake an assessment of the impact on heritage assets and their setting. Historic England should be able to offer advice on this matter.

Key Issue 2 - Meeting the housing needs of a growing population

Question 3 - Do you agree that the housing need identified for the Black Country over the period 2014-36 in the SHMA, and the anticipated amount of supply, are appropriate and in line with national guidance? Yes/No; If not, please explain why they are not appropriate and in line with national guidance.

The housing need for the Black Country for the period 2014-2036 as identified in the SHMA is considered robust and the anticipated supply seems appropriate in line with national guidance; therefore the initial housing requirement of 24,670 is supported. The Council also supports the ongoing work to consider if there are options for surplus employment land to be allocated for housing, as well as considering the potential to increase the density of housing allocations and the limited release of surplus open space. Clearly, the Black Country authorities will need to demonstrate that the potential sources of supply within the urban area have been fully considered in order for Green Belt release to be justified.

Key Issue 3 - Supporting a resurgent economy

Question 4 - Do you consider the employment land requirement identified for the Black Country up to 2036 in the EDNA is appropriate and in line with national guidance? Yes/No; If not, please explain why they are not appropriate and in line with national guidance.

The recommendation that the Black Country should plan for 800ha of employment land (B1 (b), B1(c), B2 and B8 uses) as suggested within the Economic Development Needs Assessment (EDNA) appears robust and in line with national guidance. The Issues and Options paper goes on to confirm that 394ha of employment land is available or is likely to come forward in the Black Country over the plan period, including opportunities to intensify existing employment areas. It is then apparent that the Black Country authorities are seeking to rely on some 100ha of employment land in South Staffordshire when concluding that there is a residual need to identify some 300ha of employment land through the Core Strategy review.

As you are aware, South Staffordshire Council is progressing its Site Allocations Document that seeks to allocate 62ha of additional employment land at proposed extensions to i54 and ROF Featherstone to meet a proportion of the Black County's employment needs. Remaining employment land at our strategic sites is relied upon in the District's employment land supply to meet South Staffordshire needs and therefore any additional supply that South Staffordshire Council can contribute above the 62ha (including a proportion of land at West Midland Interchange should it be consented) would need to be agreed through Duty to Co-operate discussions and a Memorandum of Understanding. We will be undertaking our own EDNA next year which will consider our own need for additional employment land and will provide a clearer picture of how much additional employment land South Staffordshire could contribute towards the Black Country supply, if any. Until this work has been done and agreements have been reached about the amount of existing supply that can contribute to the Black Country need, it is not possible to say if the stated residual requirement for 300ha of employment land is appropriate. The Council would welcome further Duty to Co-operate discussions with the Black Country authorities to establish if any unmet employment land need from the Black Country can be met within the District.

Key Issue 6 - Reviewing the role and extent of the Green Belt

Question 5 - Do you agree with the proposed approach to the Black Country Green Belt Review? Yes/No; If not, what additional work do you think is necessary?

South Staffordshire Council is working closely with the Black Country authorities and others authorities within the HMA as the commissioning authorities for the Strategic Growth Study. In addition to this, the Council supports the Black Country authorities' approach of producing a more detailed Green Belt review to inform the Preferred Spatial Options Report. Currently officers are working with counterparts from the Black Country in ensuring that the more detailed Black Country Green Belt review uses a consistent methodology with the South Staffordshire Green Belt review that will be commissioned to support our Local Plan review at an appropriate stage.

Question 6 - Do you agree that the key issues set out in Part 3 are the key issues that need to be taken into account through the Core Strategy Review? Yes/No; If not, what other key issues should be taken into account?

In the context of a partial review of the Core Strategy, the key issues as presented in Part 3 of the Issues and Options Report are considered appropriate.

Vision, Principles, Spatial Objectives and Strategic Policies

Question 7 - Do you think that the Core Strategy vision and sustainability principles remain appropriate? Yes/No; If not, what alternatives would you suggest?

In the context of a partial review of the Core Strategy, the Core Strategy vision and sustainability principles remain appropriate.

Question 8 - Do you think that the Core Strategy spatial objectives remain appropriate? Yes/No; If not, what alternatives would you suggest and how might these changes impact on individual Core Strategy policies?

It is considered that most of these objectives remain valid. However, as it is acknowledged that some Green Belt release will be necessary, additional objectives around delivering sustainable urban extensions, or other smaller Green Belt releases (the 'rounding off' option) may be necessary dependent on which growth option is progressed.

Considering the pressure for housing and employment land it may be that a further objective around maximising brownfield opportunities - both within the Growth Network and outside it - is required.

Question 9 - Do you agree that Policies CSP1 and CSP2 should be retained and updated to reflect new evidence and growth proposals outside the Growth Network? Yes/No; If not, what changes do you think should be made to Policies CSP1 and CSP2 in response to new challenges and opportunities?

The focus of the existing Core Strategy was to focus the majority of growth at the strategic centres and regeneration corridors, known collectively as the Growth Network and set out in Policy CSP1, and to see more limited growth outside the Growth Network and reflected in Policy CSP2. It is therefore agreed that such overarching policies should be retained and updated to reflect new evidence.

Considering the requirements for new housing and employment land, it is welcomed that the Issues and Options Report acknowledges that Policy CSP2 will be amended and subject to significant change in order to accommodate housing and employment land and to reflect proposed changes to the Black Country Green Belt. As stated in response to Question 1, all reasonable options should be considered and therefore fully exploring development options outside the existing Growth network, both Green Belt and non -Green Belt, is essential.

Reviewing the Spatial Strategy

Stage 1: Strategic Options 1A and 1B - continuing the role of the Growth Network

Question 10 - In continuing to promote growth within the Growth Network, is there a need to amend the boundaries of any of the Regeneration Corridors in the existing Core Strategy? Yes/No; If so, which boundaries and why?

The Council supports the Black Country authorities in re-examining the boundaries of the regeneration corridors to explore whether this could result in additional sites for housing and/or employment land.

Question 11a - Do you support Strategic Option 1A? Yes/No; If yes, please explain why. If no, do you support Option 1B? Yes/No; If yes, please explain why. If you support the release of further employment land for housing, what should the characteristics of these employment areas be?

Whilst there may be scope for the release of some occupied employment land for housing in certain locations in the Growth Network (Strategic Option 1B), the loss of employment land would need to be offset in the Green Belt and therefore this option is unlikely to reduce the loss of Green Belt overall. It is also acknowledged that there are likely to be delivery and viability issues around Option 1B. On this basis, the bulk of the remaining housing and employment needs are likely to need to be met outside the Growth Network (Strategic Option 1A). However, before this is concluded, the authorities will need to demonstrate that there are no other deliverable sources of supply (e.g. estate regeneration) within the Growth Network.

Question 11b - Are there any current employment areas that might be considered suitable for redevelopment to housing? Yes/No; Please submit specific sites through the 'call for sites' form.

No comment.

Stage 2: Strategic Options 2A and 2B - Housing and Employment outside the urban area

Question 12a - Do you support Spatial Option H1? Yes/No; What criteria should be used to select suitable sites? e.g. ability to create a defensible new green belt boundary, size, access to existing residential services.

It is noted that both options outside the Growth Network (Strategic Option 2A and 2B) would involve Green Belt release. As stated in response to questions 1 and 16, all reasonable non-Green Belt options should be explored, and therefore the authorities will need to demonstrate that there are no other deliverable sources of supply (e.g. estate regeneration and increasing development density) within the urban area outside of the identified Growth Network. Once this has been demonstrated, it is considered that exploring a combination of Spatial Options H1 and H2 will need to be explored.

As Spatial Option H1 would see the 'rounding off' the edge of the Green Belt, including internal Green Belt wedges, it is envisaged that this will see the release of a number of small to medium sized sites. Considering the upfront infrastructure delivery for Sustainable Urban Extensions (SUEs) (Option H2) it is considered that from a delivery perspective, a number of these smaller 'rounding off' sites will need to come forward to ensure housing is being delivered over the short term (0-5 year period). The Issues and Options report confirms that this 'rounding off' option may not yield sufficient capacity to accommodate all the growth needs, and if this is the case, then a combination of 'rounding off' sites, as well as SUEs, are likely to be required to meet the growth requirements.

In terms of what criteria should be used to select such sites, this must be evidence led. Of particular importance will be the outcomes of the Strategic Growth Study and Black County Green Belt Review in terms of the contribution that these site play to the Green Belt. A Landscape Sensitivity Study will also be a key piece of evidence for determining the degree of landscape sensitivity, to ensure that areas of very high sensitivity remain undeveloped where possible. Access to services and facilities will need to be considered, however these sites by their nature will adjoin the urban area, and therefore in most cases there is likely to be adequate access to amenities. It is not considered that a size threshold should be imposed on these 'rounding off' sites; however sites should follow defensible boundaries, such as existing roads, watercourses and hedgerows where possible.

An important consideration when considering options for growth will also be the Cannock Chase SAC. The Council welcomes the continued involvement of the relevant Black Country authorities in the Cannock Chase SAC Partnership through the Core Strategy Review process. Any development proposals in the Core Strategy Review need to come forward in accordance with the most up to date evidence to ensure that development does not have an adverse impacts on European protected sites.

Question 12b - Do you think there are any potential locations that should be considered? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details (please submit specific sites through the 'call for sites' form).

To reiterate, it is important that site selection is evidence led, and therefore crucially, it is essential that all sites/areas with 'rounding off' potential are considered. This includes areas that haven't been put forward through the 'call for sites' but perform well in planning terms based on the evidence undertaken. Where necessary, land searches/land assembly should be undertaken to ascertain if these sites are available and deliverable.

Question 13a - Do you support Spatial Option H2? Yes/No; What should the characteristics of Sustainable Urban Areas (SUEs) be? e.g. minimum/ maximum size, mix of uses, mix of housing types, accessibility to other areas. What criteria should be used to select suitable sites? e.g. proximity to a rail station, availability of existing infrastructure, easy access to jobs, potential to support existing settlements / services, proximity to the existing growth network, potential to support urban regeneration.

As set out in response to Question 12a, there is likely to be a requirement to allocate SUEs to meet the identified growth requirements in addition to smaller 'rounding off' sites. However, it is unclear if this option includes options for new standalone settlements in the Green Belt, or will just focus on SUEs that adjoin the urban area. It is suggested that, considering the scale of the housing and employment requirements, new standalone settlements could be considered at this early stage of plan preparation under this option.

It is considered that any SUE would need to provide a mix of house sizes and specialist housing (for example for the elderly) where there is evidence of need, and an appropriate level of affordable housing. The Council also believes there are options for new employment land to be allocated within SUEs. In particular there may be scope for modern industrial units aimed at SME businesses offering supply chain opportunities to serve established businesses in the area. Clearly sustainable development principles should be followed with good access to amenities, public transport, employment opportunities, sport and recreation and other green infrastructure.

An important consideration when considering options for growth will also be the Cannock Chase SAC. The Council welcomes the continued involvement of the relevant Black Country authorities in the Cannock Chase SAC Partnership through the Core Strategy Review process. Any development proposals in the Core Strategy Review need to come forward in accordance with the most up to date evidence to ensure that development does not have an adverse impacts on European protected sites.

Question 13b - What infrastructure do you think would be needed for different sizes of SUEs?

It is suggested that SUEs would typically need to be in excess of 750 houses to facilitate a primary school and it is likely that developments would need to be larger than this (in excess of 1000) to provide a local centre. A self-contained development is likely to be in excess of 2000 -2500 homes; with 5000 homes the typical threshold to facilitate a new high school.

Question 13c - Are there any potential locations that should be considered for SUEs (please submit through the 'call for sites' form) and what infrastructure would be required to support these?

It is important that site selection is evidence led, and therefore it is essential that all sites/areas with potential to accommodate an SUE are considered. This includes areas that haven't been put forward through the 'call for sites' but perform well in planning terms based on the evidence undertaken; for example the Strategic Growth Study, any further fine grain Green Belt assessment, Landscape Sensitivity Study and market capacity evidence. Where necessary, land searches/land assembly should be undertaken to ascertain if these sites are available and deliverable.

Question 13d - Do you think that the Core Strategy should set out detailed guidance for the development of SUEs (e.g. type and tenure of housing, specific infrastructure required), rather than details being determined at a local level in light of local policies? Yes/No; Any further comments?

The Council supports the Core Strategy setting out detailed guidance and broad parameters for design and layout of SUEs, including the type of tenure of housing, employment land requirements, infrastructure and service provision and open space requirements etc. It may be that these requirements are set out in a proforma for each proposed SUE, which then hooks to the relevant SUE allocation policy.

Question 14 - Do you think there are any other deliverable and sustainable Housing Spatial Options? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

As set out in previous responses, if Green Belt release is proposed then the authorities will need to demonstrate that all reasonable non-Green Belt alternatives have been considered. This should include exploring funding opportunities to deliver constrained brownfield sites, increasing site densities within the urban area and exploring any opportunities for estate regeneration.

As set out in response to Question 13a, at this early stage of plan preparation, Spatial Option 2a should consider options for new standalone settlement as well as SUEs that adjoin the urban area.

Meeting housing needs outside the Black Country

Question 15a - If all housing need cannot be met within the Black Country, do you support the 'export' of housing growth to neighbouring authorities within the HMA? Yes/No; What factors should be taken into account in an assessment of the opportunities in neighbouring authorities e.g. proximity to the edge of the urban area, proximity to a rail station, availability of existing infrastructure, easy access to jobs?

If it is clearly demonstrated that housing need cannot be met within the Black Country by carrying out a robust and transparent assessment of all non-Green Belt and Green Belt options, then it is acknowledged that some of this housing growth will need to be exported to other authorities within the Greater Birmingham HMA. This could potentially be to neighbouring HMAs should it be robustly demonstrated that the shortfall cannot be met within the Greater Birmingham HMA. The Strategic Growth Study will provide an indication of where opportunities may exist outside the Black Country and these opportunities could then be explored further by the relevant authority through local evidence gathering.

It is clear that there are significant pressures for new housing, employment and Gypsy & Traveller provision and these key cross boundary issues will need to be addressed through our respective local plans. It is the Council's firm view that this is a two-way negotiation and the role that South Staffordshire might play in this regard needs to be very carefully explored. An equitable and fair approach, which recognises the environmental, physical and infrastructure constraints, as well as the availability of sites to meet specific needs, should be robustly evidenced when addressing these issues under the Duty to Cooperate.


Question 15b - Do you think there are any potential locations that should be considered? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

Potential locations outside the Black Country, similar to considering options for 'rounding off/SUEs within the Black Country, should be evidence led. Therefore, this could include areas that haven't been put forward through the 'call for sites' but perform well in planning terms based on the evidence undertaken; for example the Strategic Growth Study, any further fine grain Green Belt assessment, Landscape Sensitivity Study and market capacity evidence. Where necessary land searches/land assembly should be undertaken to ascertain if these sites are available and deliverable.

Question 15c - Do you think there are ways to ensure that exporting housing will meet the needs of people who would otherwise live in the Black Country? (e.g. transport improvements, provision of affordable housing, creation of employment opportunities) Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

Whether development is delivered within the Black Country or is exported elsewhere it will need to comprise sustainable development that meets the needs of the people who live there. If housing is exported, it will be for the LPA(s) in question to allocate sites through their Local Plan alongside appropriate infrastructure having undertaken a Sustainability Appraisal to ensure that sustainable development is being achieved.

Strategic Option Area 2B - accommodating employment land growth outside the urban area

Question 16 - Do you support Spatial Option E1? Yes/No; What type of sites are needed to meet the needs of industry and what criteria should be used to select sites? (e.g. quick motorway access) If you think that are any potential locations that should be considered please provide details (please submit specific sites through the 'call for sites' form).

The Council supports Spatial Option E1 of extending the Black Country's existing employment sites on the edge of the urban area into Green Belt land where it is demonstrated that there is insufficient options for employment land within the urban area. It is considered that there is a need for a mix of employment sites, both in terms of use class, size and quality. Overall, it is likely that the authorities will need to provide a range of employment land from sites aimed at large advanced manufacturing companies, through to small scale modern fit for purpose industrial units aimed at existing SMEs and start-up businesses.

In most instances, good access to the strategic road network is a key criterion, particularly for logistics companies, however for more local quality manufacturing this may be less of a factor. Access to labour markets, including accessibility to employment via public transport is also seen as key site selection criteria.

Question 17 - Do you support Spatial Option E2? Yes/No; What type of sites are needed to meet the needs of industry and what criteria should be used to select sites e.g. quick motorway access, good sustainable transport links? If you think that are any potential locations that should be considered please provide details (please submit specific sites through the 'call for sites' form).

The Council supports Spatial Option E2 of providing new freestanding employment sites in sustainable locations in the Black Country's Green Belt where it is demonstrated that there is insufficient options for employment land within the Black Country urban area. New freestanding employment sites are more likely to be aimed at larger advanced manufacturing and/or distribution companies and therefore good access to the strategic road network is seen as key. Again, access to labour markets, including accessibility to employment via public transport is also seen as key site selection criteria.

Question 18 - Do you support Spatial Option E3? Yes/No; What type of sites are needed to meet the needs of industry and what criteria should be used to select sites? (e.g. quick motorway access) If you think that are any potential locations that should be considered please provide details (please submit specific sites through the 'call for sites' form).

The Council supports Spatial Option E3 of providing new employment land within Sustainable Urban Extensions (SUEs) in the Green Belt where it is demonstrated that there is insufficient options for employment land within the urban area. In particular, there may be opportunities within SUEs to provide modern industrial units on new business parks as part of a sustainable mixed use development. These are more likely to be aimed at existing SMEs and start-up businesses.

Question 19a - Do you support Spatial Option E4? Yes/No; Any further comments?

The Council acknowledges that alongside the other three spatial options, there may be a requirement to export employment growth to neighbouring areas. It is acknowledged that South Staffordshire has strong economic links with the Black Country as demonstrated by the fact that our emerging Site Allocations will provide an additional 62ha of employment land to meet Black Country needs.

The Black Country EDNA concludes that South Staffordshire and Birmingham are the areas with the strongest economic links to the Black Country, but acknowledges that there are also links with other adjoining areas e.g. Lichfield, Cannock and Bromsgrove. Clearly, the employment land requirements for the Black Country are significant, reflecting the growth aspirations of the Black Country and wider West Midlands Combined Authority. Considering the scale of the need, if it is demonstrated that Spatial Option E4 is an appropriate option, then options to export to all neighbouring authorities with an economic relationship to the Black Country should be considered under this option.

Question 19b - Should any factors be taken into account in an assessment of the opportunities? Yes/No; If yes, what should they be? (e.g. quick motorway access, strong transport links with the Black Country, good sustainable transport links with the Black Country)

It is agreed that good access to the strategic road network with good sustainable public transport links are important factors if the export option was to provide large scale freestanding employment site(s). Further, consideration should also be given to which communities in the Black Country the sites will serve. Clearly, sites on the northern edge of the Black Country are less likely to serve residents in Dudley and Sandwell and vice versa. Therefore, if employment sites are provided outside the Black Country then this should be done in a way that avoids the overconcentration of sites in one area.

Question 20 - Do you think there are any other deliverable and sustainable Employment Land Spatial Options? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

No other options are suggested at this stage. It may be the case that a combination of all options is needed to meet the Black Country employment requirements. As set out above, assuming that the export option is required, all neighbouring authorities with an economic relationship to the Black Country should be considered under Spatial Option E4.

Delivering Growth - Infrastructure and Viability
Introduction and scope

Question 21 - Do you think that changes are required to Policy DEL1 to ensure it covers both development within the existing urban area and any within the Green Belt? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

It is agreed that the policy may need to be reconsidered. Where Green Belt release for SUEs/employment land is proposed then it may be that there is a hook in the policy to link to site specific proformas/development briefs for these sites. These could clearly set out what infrastructure is required to be delivered, both on and off site.

Social Infrastructure

Question 22 - Do you have evidence of a requirement for new social infrastructure to serve existing needs? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details of the type of facility and where it should be located.

We have no evidence with regard to social infrastructure needs in the Black Country.

Question 23 - Do you have evidence of social infrastructure that is no longer needed and where the site could be reallocated for alternative uses? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

We have no evidence with regard to surplus social infrastructure provision in the Black Country.

Question 24- Do you have evidence of pressure being placed on the capacity of current social infrastructure which could be exacerbated by new housing? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

We have no evidence with regard to social infrastructure needs in the Black Country. However, it is acknowledged that new housing will put pressure on social infrastructure both within the Black Country, and the surrounding local areas and therefore the authorities will need to engage carefully with cross boundary social infrastructure providers to ensure that they understand the 'tipping point' at which new development will facilitate the need for additional social infrastructure provision.

Question 25 - Will there be any new social infrastructure requirements necessary to serve large new housing developments? Yes/No; If yes, please explain the type and scale of any new social infrastructure required.

See response to Question 24.

Physical Infrastructure

Question 26 - Do you have any evidence of a requirement for new physical infrastructure to serve existing needs? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details of the type of facility and where it should be located.

We have no evidence at this stage with regard to physical infrastructure needs in the Black Country.

Question 27 - Do you have evidence of pressure being placed on the capacity of current physical infrastructure which could be exacerbated by new developments? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.
We have no evidence with regard to physical infrastructure needs in the Black Country. However, it is acknowledged that large scale new development (for example SUEs) are likely to require substantial upfront infrastructure provision.

Question 28 - Do you think physical infrastructure is necessary to serve large new housing developments? Yes/No; If yes, what type and scale of physical infrastructure is necessary?

See response to Question 27.

Delivery and Viability

Question 29 - Do you think there are any other tools or interventions that could be used to ensure enough infrastructure is provided by developments? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

Clearly infrastructure provision through Section 106 and 278 agreements and CIL will be essential. No other tools or interventions are suggested.

Question 30 - Do you have any suggestions around how the strategy can be developed in order to maintain the urban regeneration focus of the Black Country while at the same time bringing forward sites in the green belt? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

It is considered that in order to maintain the urban regeneration strategy, a brownfield first approach should be explored to its fullest extent. Therefore, all funding options should be explored to try and deliver as many problematic brownfield sites as possible.

Funding for Site Development and Infrastructure

Question 31 - Do you think that the right scale and form of funding is available to support the delivery of the Core Strategy review? Yes/No; If no, what alternative sources of funding or delivery mechanisms should be investigated?

Both private and public sector investment will be needed to deliver the Core Strategy. The availability of funding sources will impact on viability, and therefore robust viability, delivery and infrastructure studies will be needed when determining if the proposed Core Strategy policies are feasible.

Review of Existing Core Strategy Policies and Proposals

Policy Area A - Health and Wellbeing

Question 32 - Do you think that the proposed approach to incorporate health and wellbeing issues in the Core Strategy review is appropriate? Yes/No; If no, please provide details

It is agreed that spatial planning and place making does have a key role in improving the health and wellbeing of residents and therefore incorporating a health and wellbeing into the Core Strategy is fully supported.

Question 33 - Is there more that the Core Strategy can do to address health and wellbeing issues in the Black Country? Yes/No; If yes, is a new policy needed to address such issues for example?

A number of policy areas, e.g. open space and sports provision, affordable housing delivery tie in with the health and wellbeing agenda and these will be picked up in other Core Strategy policies. There may however be a role for overarching health and wellbeing policy that ties these together to ensure it is clear on how development will be expected to contribute towards healthier communities.

Question 34a - Do you agree that the health and wellbeing impacts of large development proposals should be considered at the Preferred Spatial Option stage of the Core Strategy review through a Health Impact Assessment approach? Yes/No; Any further comments?

Undertaking a Health Impact Assessment for large developments in addition to considering their impact through the Sustainability Appraisal (SA) is supported.

Question 34b - What design features do you think are key to ensuring new development encourages healthy living, which could be assessed through the HIA process?

Applying good practice design principles, including provision of on site open space and links to existing green infrastructure will be essential. It is also important that larger schemes to include facilities for children's play and youth development.

Policy Area B - Creating Sustainable Communities in the Black Country

Policy HOU1 - Housing Land Supply

Question 35 - Do you support the proposed approach to housing land supply? Yes/No; If no, please explain why.

The proposed approach to housing land supply is supported.

Policy HOU2 - Housing Density, Type and Accessibility

Question 36 - Do you think that the current accessibility and density standards set out in Policy HOU2 and Table 8 should be changed? Yes/No; If yes, what standards should be applied instead, for example should the minimum net density of 35 dwellings per hectare be increased to maximise brownfield housing delivery?

The Council supports the proposal to increase the minimum net density of 35 dwellings per hectare to maximise brownfield housing delivery. Densities should be reconsidered through the emerging viability and delivery evidence and efficient use of land be promoted.

Question 37a - Do you think that the existing Policy HOU2 site size threshold should be kept at 15 homes or more? Yes/No; If no, please explain why

The authorities should consider lowering or removing the threshold for applying density standards as in many instances high densities may also be appropriate for small sites of less than 15 dwellings.

Question 37b - If no, should it be reduced to 11 homes or more? Yes/No; If no what other threshold should be used and why?

The site size threshold could be reduced to less than 11 if there is evidence to suggest that this will not impact on deliverability.

Question 38 - Do you think that the current accessibility and density standards are appropriate for green belt release locations? Yes/No; If no, what standards should be applied in these locations and why?

It is important that efficient use of land is encouraged so as to limit Green Belt release as far as possible, particularly given the Housing White Paper's requirement to limit the need for Green Belt release by optimising the proposed density of development. Therefore, where Green Belt release has been shown to be necessary, the minimum net density of any Green Belt release should not be set below the standards for the adjacent urban area.

Question 39 - Do you think separate accessibility standards are needed for particular types of housing e.g. housing for the elderly or affordable housing (as occupiers may be less mobile and more dependent on public transport)? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

As locations for residential development will principally focus on sites within the urban area or Green Belt locations on the edge of the urban fringe, it is considered that none of these locations will be isolated with fundamental accessibility concerns. Therefore, separate accessibility standards for different types of development are not considered necessary. With regard to affordable housing, this should be provided on site where possible.

Question 40 - Do you agree that the 2017 SHMA findings should be used to set general house type targets for the Plan period? Yes/No; If no, please explain why.

Yes.

Question 41a - Do you support the introduction of a policy approach towards self and custom build housing in the Core Strategy? Yes/No; if yes, would you support:

Yes.

Question 41b - A target for each authority? Yes/No; Any further comments

Considering the low numbers on the register currently (nine for the entire Black Country), It may be most appropriate to set a target for each authority, rather than a percentage requirement for each large development coming forward. One potential approach could be to extrapolate need evidenced from the base periods to date, in order to determine how many plots each authority should be providing over the plan period.

Question 41c - A requirement for large housing sites to provide serviced plots? Yes/No; Any further comments?

See response to Question 41b.

Question 41d - Another approach altogether? Yes/No; If yes, please specify.

See response to Question 41b.

Question 41e - Do you support the use of a variety of local approaches to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) across the Black Country? Yes/No; If no, please explain why.

No comment.

Policy HOU3 - Affordable Housing

Question 42 - Do you agree that the annual affordable homes target should be increased to reflect the 2017 Black Country Strategic Housing Market Assessment? Yes/No; If no, please explain why.

It is agreed that the annual affordable housing target should be directly informed by the 2017 SHMA.

Question 43a - Do you think that the existing Policy HOU3 site size threshold should be kept at 15 homes or more? Yes/No; If no, please explain why.

It is agreed that the threshold requiring sites to provide a proportion of affordable housing set out in Policy HOU3 should be lowered to 11 homes or more in line with Government guidance.

Question 43b - If no, should it be reduced to 11 homes or more? Yes/No; If no, what threshold should be used?

See response to question 43a.

Question 44a - Do you think that the affordable housing requirement for eligible sites in Question 43 should be kept at 25% of the total number of homes on the site? Yes /No; Any further comments?

A requirement for 25% affordable housing seems reasonable considering the viability constraints that may be associated with some sites. This is also in line with the requirement identified in the SHMA.

Question 44b If no, should the percentage be increased to allow for the provision of affordable home ownership? Yes/No; If yes, what should the percentage be and why?

It may not be necessary to increase the affordable housing percentage requirement in order to increase the provision of affordable home ownership now that the Housing White paper appears to have removed the specific requirement to deliver starter homes (20%) on all sites over a certain threshold. The 10% requirement for affordable home ownership products can be met within the proposed 25% affordable housing policy. The split within this between shared ownership, starter homes and other types of affordable home ownership could then be dealt with by negotiation, considering the comments in 6.37 which note that most starter homes in the Black Country would not necessarily be genuinely affordable in all areas. This would also still leave a 15% requirement for rented products, which is only marginally below the 16.6% recommended in the SHMA.

Question 45 - Should an increased affordable housing requirement be set for Green Belt release sites, to reflect the likely financial viability of these sites? Yes/No; If yes, what should this be.

The SHMA confirms that the Black Country authorities should aim for 28.6% (23.3% if starter homes are excluded) of new housing to be affordable housing; therefore on this basis there may be limited scope to go above 25% on greenfield sites. However, considering that these could be large sites that would need substantial onsite infrastructure provision then a cautious approach should be taken to going above 25%. Setting an appropriate percentage should be directly informed by a high level viability study.

Policy HOU4 - Accommodation for Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople

Question 46 - Do you agree with the proposed new gypsy, traveller and travelling showpeople accommodation targets? Yes/No; If no, please explain why.

The targets set out in Tables 4 and 5 are taken from the Black Country and South Staffordshire GTAA 2017 and therefore are deemed appropriate for identifying the Black Country's pitch/plot requirements. However, as you are aware the 2017 GTAA identified a pitch requirement of 87 residential pitches for South Staffordshire for the period 2016-2036, considerably above the pitch requirements for the four Black Country authorities combined. Historically, pitch provision in South Staffordshire has been in the Green Belt as no non-Green Belt options have ever been promoted. Therefore, assuming that this remains the case, there will be a requirement through our Local Plan review to demonstrate that we have explored other reasonable options to amending Green Belt boundaries including exploring whether other authorities can help to meet some of the identified development requirement, as set out in the Housing White Paper. As such, there will be a requirement through Duty to Co-operate discussions to explore whether there may be deliverable brownfield options in the Black Country to meet a proportion of the districts pitch requirements. On this basis, a flexible approach to setting pitch targets and exploring pitch/plot options is suggested.

It is clear that there are significant pressures for new housing, employment and Gypsy & Traveller provision and these key cross boundary issues will need to be addressed through our respective local plans. It is the Council's firm view that this is a two-way negotiation and the role that South Staffordshire might play in this regard needs to be very carefully explored. An equitable and fair approach, which recognises the environmental, physical and infrastructure constraints, as well as the availability of sites to meet specific needs, should be robustly evidenced when addressing these issues under the Duty to Cooperate.


Policy HOU5 - Education and Health Care Facilities

Question 47 - Do you think that Policy HOU5 should be expanded to cover other types of built social infrastructure and to set out standards for built social infrastructure to serve major housing developments? Yes/No; If no, please explain why.

Expanding Policy HOU5 to include a criteria based approach which requires service providers to demonstrate why health care and education facilities are no longer required or viable is welcomed. It is agreed that this approach should be expanded to other types of social infrastructure such as community centres.

Including standards for built social infrastructure to serve major housing developments set out in Policy HOU5 is also considered appropriate.

Question 48 - Do you agree that the requirement in HOU5, to demonstrate there is adequate alternative provision to meet the needs of the community served by a facility which is to be lost, should be reviewed? Yes/No; If yes, please explain why.

This policy should be reviewed to reflect a clear criteria based approach to considering the loss of social infrastructure, and should be expanded beyond health and educational facilities where appropriate. One of these criteria could relate to ensuring that the developer demonstrates that there is adequate alternative provision to meet the needs of the community.

Policy Area C - The Black Country Economy

Policy DEL2 - Managing the Balance between Employment Land and Housing

Question 49a - Is there still a need for existing Policy DEL2 in order to manage the release of poorer quality employment land for housing? Yes/No; If no, please explain why.

The existing wording for Policy DEL2 seems very broad, setting out completions to date and how many are expected to come forward within each regeneration corridor. A clearer approach may be to specifically identify areas of Local Quality Employment Land that is considered poor quality and therefore suitable for release for housing, either through a revised Core Strategy policy or through allocation documents.

Question 49b - If yes, should this policy be used to assess the release of employment land to alternative uses, other than housing? Yes/No; If yes, please explain why.

A revised policy could set out areas of poor quality employment land that could be suitable for release for housing or alternative uses, providing clarify on what uses may be acceptable.

Policy EMP1 - Providing for Economic Growth and Jobs

Question 50 - Do you think that the Core Strategy should continue to set a target for the total employment land stock in Policy EMP1? Yes/No; Please explain why. Do you think that distinguishing between Strategic High Quality Employment Areas and Local Quality Employment Areas is still appropriate? Yes/No; Please explain why.

It is considered that the authorities themselves are best placed to decide if there is any value in setting a target for the total employment stock within the Black Country. Setting a target for the additional employment land that is required is a clearer approach; however if possible, there may be a need to have a mechanism in place to ensure that any loss of existing high quality sites to other uses is compensated by new provision reflected in updated targets. Robust monitoring and national guidance encouraging authorities to review plans in whole or part every 5 years should ensure that any issues around the loss of existing high quality employment land can be addressed.

Policy EMP2 - Strategic High Quality Employment Land and Policy EMP3 - Local Quality Employment Land

Question 51 - Do you think that the criteria used to define Strategic High Quality Employment Areas are appropriate and reflect actual market requirements? Yes/No; If not, how do you think the criteria and/or terminology should be amended?

The criteria used to define High Quality Employment Areas are supported. There may however be scope to slightly amend the accessibility criteria to focus on good access the strategic road network, rather than just focusing on access to the motorway network.

Question 52 - Do you think that the criteria used to define Local Quality Employment Areas are appropriate and reflect actual market requirements? Yes/No; If not, how do you think the criteria and/or terminology should be amended?

The criteria used to define High Quality Employment Areas are supported.

Question 53 - Do you think that Strategic High Quality Employment Areas should continue to be protected for manufacturing and logistics uses, with the other uses set out in Policy EMP3 discouraged? Yes/no; If not, what alternative approach do you recommend?

The High Quality Employment Areas should be focused on advanced manufacturing and logistics and be protected for these uses.

Policy EMP4 - Maintaining a supply of readily available employment land

Question 54 - Do you agree that the current approach in Policy EMP4 is no longer fit for purpose and should be amended to reflect a portfolio based approach? Yes/No; If no, what alternative approaches would you recommend?

Removing the requirement to have a 'reservoir' of readily available shovel ready employment land is supported. The provision to review plans in whole or part every 5 years will help ensure that there is a constant supply of employment land, providing scope to allocate additional employment land if required. Ensuring provision for a balanced portfolio of sites is important

Policy EMP5 - Improving access to the labour market

Question 55 - Do you agree with the proposal to retain Policy EMP5? Yes/No; If no please explain why.

Policy EMP5 encourages the use of planning objections to be negotiated with developers of new job creating development in order to support recruitment and training of local people. This approach is fully supported as access to a skilled workforce is a key consideration for businesses.

Policy EMP6 - Cultural Facilities and the Visitor Economy

Question 56 - Do you agree with the proposal to update Policy EMP6 in line with current priorities? Yes/No; If no, please explain why

Updating the list of visitor attractions and facilities in Policy EMP6, which seeks to develop the visitor economy and cultural facilities of the Black Country is supported.

Policy Area D - The Black Country Centres

Policy CEN1: The Importance of the Black Country Centres for the Regeneration Strategy

Question 57 - Do you support the proposal to merge Policy CEN1 and Policy CEN2, given that both policies focus on the overall strategy in the Black Country, including the hierarchy of centres? Yes/No; if you have any comments on Policies CEN1 and CEN2 please provide details.

Merging these policies relating to the town centres seems logical.

Question 58 - Do you think there is any evidence to suggest that the hierarchy of centres is not appropriate going forward in the context of the regeneration strategy? Yes/No; If so, please provide details.

The Council has no evidence to suggest that the hierarchy of centres is not appropriate. However, the Retail Capacity and Town Centre Uses studies should be used to inform the hierarchy. It is recognised that a number of the Black Country centres - particularly the strategic centres - play an important role in meeting the higher order needs of our residents including access to hospitals, retail and leisure. Therefore, their continuing regeneration is fully supported.

Question 59 - Have all the appropriate centres within the Black Country been identified? Yes/No; If not, please specify additional centres.

From the Council's knowledge, It appears that all the appropriate centres within the Black Country have been identified.

Question 60 - Is there evidence to suggest that identified centres are no longer performing as a centre or at their identified level in the hierarchy? Yes/No; If yes, do you agree that they should be moved / removed within or out of the hierarchy? Please explain why.

We have no evidence on the performance of centres or relating to their level within the hierarchy of centres.

Question 61 - In addition to para 4.33 of the current Core Strategy should the revised Core Strategy include criteria for the creation of new centres that might be needed as a result of any additional housing identified through the plan? Yes/No; Any further comments?

As an indicative rule, development of around 1000 houses or more are likely to require a new centre. Therefore, if the evidence suggests a need for new developments around this scale then clear criteria for the creation of new centres will be required. It may however be appropriate to have site specific infrastructure requirements for large strategic allocations (e.g SUEs) identified in the Core Strategy. These would include the requirements for new centres.

Policy CEN3: Growth in the Strategic Centres

Question 62 - Do you agree that the Strategic Centres should remain the focus for large scale comparison retail (clothes, white goods etc), office and major commercial leisure development in the Black Country? Yes/No; Any further comments?

It is logical for the existing strategic centres such as Wolverhampton and Brierley Hill to be the focus for retail, office and commercial leisure development. This is important for their continuing regeneration.

Question 63 - Do you agree that the targets for comparison retail floorspace and office floorspace should be revisited as part of this review to take into account current and future trends? Yes/No; Any further comments?

It is agreed that retail and office floorspace needs should be revisited.

Question 64 - Is there a need to set targets for convenience retail floorspace in the Core Strategy? Yes/No; Any further comments?

We have no evidence to confirm if there is a need to set a target for convenience retail floorspace. The proposed Retail Capacity and Town Centre Uses studies should be used to inform this.

Question 65 - Should the Core Strategy set any targets or policy requirements for leisure development in the Strategic Centres? Yes/No; Any further comments?

Targets for leisure development may be appropriate where supported by evidence of need. It may be appropriate to undertake an audit of sports facilities as part of this evidence gathering and consider cross boundary provision dependent on the evidence of need/demand. If this is deemed appropriate then close liaison with Sports England is recommended.

Question 66 - Should the Core Strategy set new housing targets for the Strategic Centres through the review? Yes/No; Any further comments?

The authorities will need to demonstrate that they have fully considered options for additional housing in the strategic centres, whilst recognising that other uses such as retail will also be the focus of these centres. The Council supports the authorities setting new housing targets for the strategic centres.

Question 67 - Do you think there are any other uses and/or developments that should be planned for in the Strategic Centres? Yes/No; Please provide details.

Retail, offices, housing, leisure and cultural facilities should be the focus of the strategic centres.

Brierley Hill Retail Pre-Conditions

Question 68 - Do you agree with the proposal to re-examine the detail and appropriateness of the existing conditions for retail growth at Merry Hill through the Core Strategy review? Yes/No; Do you have any further comment to make on this issue?

The Core Strategy review is considered the correct time to re-examine any conditions relating to retail growth at Merry Hill.

Policy CEN4: Regeneration of Town Centres

Question 69 - Should more types of uses be encouraged and more flexibility be allowed to ensure the regeneration and vitality of the Black Country Town Centres? Yes / No; Please explain why.

It is considered appropriate to encourage convenience shopping and other mixed use development (e.g. community centres) to support new residential development within the strategic centres.

Question 70 - Do you think there are any specific developments or uses that should be supported in any particular Town Centre? Yes/No; Please provide details.

No specific suggestions.

Question 71 - Should the Core Strategy set housing targets for the Town Centres? Yes/No; Please explain why.

Policy CEN5: District and Local Centres

The authorities will need to demonstrate that they have fully considered options for additional housing in the strategic centres, whilst recognising that other uses such as retail will also be the focus of these centres. The Council supports the authorities setting new housing targets for the town centres.

Question 72 - Should more types of uses be encouraged and more flexibility be allowed to ensure the regeneration and vitality of the Black Country District and Local Centres? Yes/No; Please explain why.

Flexibility of uses is encouraged in the Local Centres.

Question 73 - Are there are any specific developments or uses that should be supported in any particular District or Local Centre? Yes/No; Please provide details.

No specific suggestions.

The Centres Threshold Approach

Question 74 - In the context of the 'centres first' strategy, should the threshold approach be reviewed to consider the appropriateness, scale and impact of development in and on the edge of Strategic, Town, District and Local Centres? Yes/No; Please explain why.

No comment.

Question 75 - Should thresholds apply to all main town centre uses (Yes) or just retail uses (No)? Please explain why.

No comment.

Policy CEN6: Meeting Local Needs for Shopping and Services

Question 76 - Is the approach set out in Policy CEN6 appropriate in the context of supporting local community needs? Yes/No; Please explain why.

The approach of protecting local shops and small parades unless it can be demonstrated that they are no longer viable is supported. The authorities may want to consider setting out clear expectations on what evidence would be required to justify the applicants viability case.

Question 77 - Does the wording of the criteria clearly achieve the objectives of the centres strategy? Yes/No; Please explain why.

No comment

Question 78 - Should the policy clarify that this policy applies both to applications in edge-of-centre and out-of-centre locations, and should this also be referred to in the relevant centres policies? Yes/No; Please explain why.

Clarification that the policy applies to edge-of-centre and out-of-centre locations is supported

Question 79 - Should the policy set what types of uses this policy applies to and set out any further types of material considerations that could be relevant for the determination of certain proposals, for example, the location or concentration of hot food takeaways, premises selling alcohol or gambling operations? Yes/No; Please explain why

No comment

Question 80 - Should the policy clarify that those schemes of multiple units, where individual units are below the set figure, but the cumulative figure is above, also need to meet the relevant requirements of other centres policies? Yes/No; Please explain why

No comment.

Policy CEN7: Controlling Out-of-Centre Development

Question 81 - Do you agree that the approach of strong control over out-of-centre development is still appropriate in the context of the strategy to ensure the vitality and viability of the Black Country Centres? Yes/No; Please explain why.

This approach seems appropriate.

Question 82 - Is 200sqm (gross) an appropriate scale of development above which the impact tests should apply? Yes/No; Please explain why.

No comment.

Policy CEN8: Car Parking in Centres

Question 83 - Should Policy CEN7 provide more guidance on accessibility? Yes/No; If yes, please explain why.

No comment.

Question 84- Do you think that Policy CEN8 is still appropriate for managing car parking in centres and will ensure the network of Black Country Centres are maintained and enhanced over the plan period? Yes/No; Please explain why.

No comment.

Question 85 - Should Policy CEN8, with regards to pricing of car parks, continue to be applied to Strategic Centres to ensure that pricing of parking is not used as a tool of competition? Yes/No; Please explain why.

No comment.

Other Centres Issues

Question 86 - Do you think that there are other centre uses or centres issues that need to be addressed in the centres policies? Yes/No; Please provide details.

No specific suggestions.

Question 87 - As shopping, leisure and other commercial trends continue to change, should the revised Core Strategy have a policy to reallocate out-of-centre attractions that are no longer viable for town centre uses for alternative uses such as for employment uses or housing? Yes/No; If no, please explain.

As retail trends continue to change with the continued expansion of online shopping it is essential that Local Plan policies on centres strike the correct balance between ensuring that town centres uses cannot be too easily lost, whilst also ensuring there is flexibility to adapt to changing retail trends. Where retail, leisure or other commercial uses are not viable then reallocating these for housing or employment uses would be supported.

Policy Area E - The Black Country Transport Network

Question 88 - Do you agree that the overall transport strategy supports all of the Core Strategy spatial objectives? Yes/No; Please explain why.

The overall transport strategy of providing better use of existing capacity as well as providing new sustainable transport capacity to provide an integrated transport system for the West Midlands is supported. Achieving this will help support the Core Strategy Spatial Objectives.

Policy TRAN1 - Priorities for the Development of the Transport Network

Question 89 - Do you support the proposed changes to the priorities for the development of the transport network? Yes/No; Please explain why.

The updated transport priorities in TRAN1 are generally supported. However, reference of 'development of road to freight interchange facilities to serve the sub region' is vague. It is unclear if this is making specific reference to the development of a Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI), which by the Governments definition is an Interchange in excess of 60ha and capable of handling 4 trains a day, or a number of smaller RFI facilities within the Black Country. That said, Paragraph 6.1.40 of the Issues and Options makes specific reference to rail freight interchanges proposals coming forward at Bescot and Four Ashes (currently being promoted as West Midlands Interchange (WMI)) which suggests that the transport priority relating to rail freight at Para 6.1.36 may relate specifically to Four Ashes. As you are aware, the WMI proposal is in the Green Belt and is still at the pre-application stage and therefore any transport priorities that relate to this proposal are considered premature.

Policy TRAN2 - Managing Transport Impacts of New Development

Question 90 - Do you support the proposed changes relating to managing transport impacts of new developments? Yes/No; If no, please explain why.

Proposed changes to reference greater focus on choice of modes of transport for access to new developments, including electric vehicle charging infrastructure, provision for cycles etc. is supported.

Policy TRAN3 - The Efficient Movement of Freight

Question 91 - Do you support the proposed changes relating to the efficient movement of freight? Yes/No; If no, please explain why.

The proposed change to Policy TRAN3 is to remove reference to the 'principle road network' to be replaced with reference to the 'key route network' which is defined in the West Midlands Combined Authority 'movement for growth' plan. It is our understanding that the 'key route network' is a term used to describe the metropolitan main road network. The current reference in the policy is as follows:

Proposals which generate significant freight movements will be directed to sites with satisfactory access to the principal road network.

It is unclear from the Issues and Options report if this change is simply to provide consistent terminology with that used in the WMCA transport plan, or if this will result in a material change to the policy. Specifically, it is unclear if the reference to the principal road network was referring specifically to the road network within the Black Country? Whereas the 'key route network' seems to refer to a wider area across the region. Clarification on this would be welcomed.

Policy TRAN4 - Creating Coherent Networks for Cycling and Walking

Question 92 - Do you support the proposed approach to providing a coherent network for walking and cycling? Yes/No; Please explain why.

The approach of providing a coherent network for walking and cycling is supported.

Policy TRAN5 - Influencing the Demand for Travel and Travel Choices

Question 93 - Do you support the proposed changes to Policy TRAN5? Yes/No; Please explain why.

The proposed inclusion of priorities in Policy TRAN5 around introducing new transport technologies such as ultra low emission vehicles is supported.

Policy Area F - The Black Country Environment

Environmental Infrastructure and Place-Making

Question 94 - Do you support the proposed changes relating to environmental infrastructure and place-making? Yes/No; If you think that any other changes should be made to Policies CSP3 or CSP4, please provide details.

The proposed changes to environmental policies to reflect adopted DPDs and include new proposals to address the environmental infrastructure needs of new developments in light of up-to-date evidence seems appropriate.

Question 95a - Do you think Garden City principles should be applied in the Black Country? Yes/No; If yes, how should they be applied?

Good plan making objectives such as providing comprehensive green infrastructure, integrated and accessible transport networks, access to employment and affordable housing provision are amongst those that make up the garden city principles. These requirements will be picked up through applying the relevant individual policies.

Question 95b - Should the application of Garden City principles be different for brownfield and greenfield sites? Yes/No; If yes, please explain why.

The may be more scope to apply the garden city principles on larger greenfield sites. Considering that there may be viability issues on some brownfield sites, it may be less realistic to apply the garden principles on these sites.

Policy ENV1 - Nature Conservation

Question 96 - Do you support the proposed changes relating to nature conservation? Yes/No; If no, do you think that any other changes should be made to Policy ENV1?

Updating the policy in line with the NPPF and the introduction of requirements for new development to incorporate biodiversity features, such as new natural green space, is supported.

Policy ENV2 - Historic Character and Local Distinctiveness

Question 97 - Do you support the proposed changes relating to Historic Character and Local Distinctiveness? Yes/No; If no, please provide details of any other changes that should be made to Policy ENV2.

Updating the policy in line with the latest national policy and guidance is supported.

Policy ENV3 - Design Quality

Question 98 - Do you support the proposed changes relating to Design Quality? Yes/No; If you think that any other changes should be made to Policy ENV3 please provide details.

Removing reference to requiring a specific code of sustainable home in line with national guidance is supported.

Question 99a - Do you think that national standards for housing development on water consumption should be introduced in the Black Country? Yes/No; If yes, please specify what level and percentage would be appropriate and why.

This is considered for the authorities to decide in consultation with the water companies.

Question 99b - Do you think that national access standards for housing development should be introduced in the Black Country? Yes/No; If yes, please specify what level and percentage would be appropriate and why.

Introducing an access standard so that a percentage of new builds would be usable or easily adaptable for those with disabilities is supported. However, in terms of the threshold of where this percentage is set, this would need to informed by viability evidence. It may be that it would not be viable to apply this policy on certain types of sites e.g. small brownfield sites; again this could be considered in the viability evidence.

Question 99c - Do you think that national space standards for housing development should be introduced in the Black Country? Yes/No; If yes, please specify what level and percentage would be appropriate and why.

Applying the Nationally Described Space standard (CLG, March 2015) is supported should the evidence suggest that this would not impact on viability.

Question 99d - Do you think that the standards should be different for brownfield and greenfield sites? Yes/No; If yes, please explain how and why.

It may be appropriate to have different standards for brownfield and greenfield; this could be considered in the viability evidence.

Policy ENV4 - Canals

Question 100 - Do you support the removal of the reference made to canal projects? Yes/No; Do you think that any other changes should be made to Policy ENV4? Please provide details.

It is understood that part of the route of the Hatherton Branch Canal is safeguarded in proposed Policy EN4 of Walsall's Site Allocations Document. On this basis it is considered appropriate to remove reference to the restoration of the Hatherton Branch Canal from the Core Strategy, and for this to be considered at the more local level.

Policy ENV5 - Flood Risk, Sustainable Drainage (SuDS) and Urban Heat Island Effects

Question 101a - Do you support the proposed changes relating to Flood Risk, Sustainable Drainage and Urban Heat Island effects? Yes/No; Further comments?

The propose changes to align with national policy and guidance is supported.

Question 101b - Do you think that any other changes should be made to Policy ENV5? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

None suggested.

Policy ENV6 - Open Space, Sport and Recreation

Question 102a - Do you support the proposed changes relating to open space, sport and recreation? Yes/No; If no, please explain

It is not clear what specific changes are proposed, however if the existing policy is in line with national policy then it may be that the changes needed are minimal.

Question 102b - Do you think that Policy ENV6, taken together with national and local policies, provides sufficient protection from development for open space? Yes/No; If no, please explain

It is considered that paragraph 74 of the NPPF offers sufficient protection from development for open space.

Question 102c - Do you think that any other criteria need to be added to Policy ENV6, or any other changes should be made. Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

None suggested.

Policy ENV7 - Renewable Energy

Question 103a - Do you think that Policy ENV7 should be changed to allow increased energy efficiency standards to be accepted in lieu of renewable energy provision for non-domestic buildings? Yes/No; If not, please explain

Increased energy efficiency standards for non-domestic buildings would be supported; however this would need to be supported by plan viability evidence confirming that this is achievable.

Question 103b - Do you think that the 10% requirement should be changed? Yes/No; If yes, please specify what percentage would be more appropriate and to what type of site it should apply.

Any percentage requirement relating to energy demand would again need to be supported by plan viability work.

Policy ENV8 - Air Quality

Question 104 - Do you support the proposed changes relating to Air Quality? Yes/No; If you think that any other changes should be made to Policy ENV8 please provide details.

Rewording the policy to reflect the approach in the more recent Black Country wide SPD on Air Quality and the West Midlands Low Emissions Towns and Cities Programme (WMLETCP) seems appropriate.

Policy Area G - Waste

Question 105 - Do you think that Policy WM1 identifies all of the key waste issues that need to be addressed in the Core Strategy, in accordance with national policy? Yes/No; If not, please specify what changes should be made to the Policy. If you have any evidence that can be referred to in the Waste Study, please provide details.

No comment.

Question 106a - Do you support the approach set out in Policy WM2? Yes/No; If no, please explain why.

No comment.

Question 106b - Are there any strategic waste management sites that no longer need to be protected? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details

No comment.

Question 106c - Are there any new sites that do need to be protected? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

None suggested.

Question 107 - Do you think that there are any strategic waste management proposals that should either be removed from or added to the list in Policy WM3? Yes/No; If so, please provide details.

No comment.

Question 108 - Do you agree that Policy WM4 provides an appropriate level of control over the location and design of new waste management facilities? Yes/No; If no, what changes do you think should be made to the Policy?

No comment.

Policy Area H - Minerals

Question 109 - Do you agree that Policy WM5 provides an appropriate level of control over resource management for new developments? Yes/No; If no, what changes do you think should be made to the Policy?

No comment.

Question 110 - Do you think that Policy MIN1 identifies all of the key minerals issues that need to be addressed in the Core Strategy, in accordance with national policy? Yes/no; If no, what changes should be made to the policy?

No comment.

Question 111 - Do you agree with the proposed change to 'prior extraction' requirements, to maintain a size threshold in urban areas and increase the threshold for green belt sites to 3 ha? Yes/No; If no, what evidence do you have to justify an alternative approach?

No comment.

Question 112a - Are there any key mineral related infrastructure sites that no longer need to be protected? Yes/No; Please provide details

No comment.

Question 112b - Are there any other sites that do need to be protected? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

No comment.

Question 113 - Do you think that Policy MIN2 identifies all of the key aggregate minerals issues that need to be addressed in the Core Strategy up to 2036, in accordance with national policy? Yes/No; If not, what changes should be made to the policy?

No comment.

Question 114 - Do you have evidence of workable, viable deposits of brick clays outside the areas of search, which could justify defining new areas of search? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

No.

Question 115a - Do you have evidence of any realistic possibility of fracking in the Black Country? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

No.

Question 115b - Do you think there are particular issues for the Black Country that would justify approaches different from those in national policy? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

No comment.

Question 116 - Do you think that Policy MIN5 identifies all of the key issues that need to be addressed in relation to new mineral developments in the Core Strategy, in accordance with national policy? Yes/No; If not, what changes should be made to the policy?

No comment.

Policy Area J - Growth Network Detailed Proposals

Question 117 - Do you agree with the proposed approach to updating and amending Appendix 2 and Tables 2 and 3 of the existing Core Strategy? Yes/No; If not, what alternative approach would you suggest?

Updating Appendix 2 and tables 2 and 3 of the existing Core Strategy to reflect proposals in the adopted and merging SADs and AAPs is supported.

Policy Area K - Monitoring and Additional Policies

Question 118 - Do you agree with the proposal to streamline and simplify the Core Strategy Monitoring Framework? Yes/No; If no, please explain why

Streamlining the monitoring framework to focus on the key quantitative indicators which relate to the delivery of development is supported.

Question 119 - Do you think that a new Core Strategy policy is required? Yes/No; If yes, please explain why and provide details of the suggested policy.

If the authorities are required to allocate Green Belt sites then a new policy for this will be needed. It is likely that a proforma will be needed for each allocation setting out what will need to be delivered on site that hooks to the policy.

Attachments:

Comment

Black Country Core Strategy Issue and Option Report

Representation ID: 1597

Received: 07/09/2017

Respondent: Cannock Chase Council

Representation:

As the plan progresses, further discussions will be required on infrastructure issues depending on which sites / options are to be looked at further, as there may well be cross boundary implications which need to be addressed.

Full text:

Black Country Core strategy issues and options representations from CCDC

Please see attached the representations of Cannock Chase Council to the Black Country Core Strategy issues and options consultation.

I would be grateful if you could confirm receipt

Kind regards

Black Country Core Strategy
Issues and Options consultation July - September 2017
Response of Cannock Chase Council
Thank you for consulting Cannock Chase Council with regard to the first stage (Issues and Options) of the Black Country Core Strategy Review. Responses in relation to those questions of particular relevance to this District are set out below.
Question 1: do you agree that the Core Strategy review should be a partial review, retaining and stretching the existing spatial strategy and updating existing policies?
This is difficult to conclude at this stage as much will depend on the emerging evidence as is acknowledged in paragraph 1.18. It is possible that some policies may be able to be 'stretched' or even stay the same, but in some cases significant changes may need to be made which could have cumulative impacts including cross-boundary implications, particularly in the light on ongoing work through the Greater Birmingham Housing Market Area (GBHMA) and the LEPS / WMCA.
It is noted that paragraph 1.27 (and 4.34) allows for sites to be put forward (via the Call for sites process) which lie within other authorities but adjoining the Black Country to enable cross boundary discussions to take place. As stated in paragraph 1.27, those sites would need to also be submitted to the relevant authority within whose boundaries the site lies (either all or in part) as these would also need to be considered thorough the Local Plan process for the authority in question. In these instances discussions would need to be had through the Duty to Co-operate in in the context of the emerging evidence base, ongoing strategic work as referenced above, and through any appropriate local plan reviews.
Question 2: Do you think that the key evidence set out in Table 1 is sufficient to support the key stages of the Core Strategy review? If not, what further evidence is required and, if there are any particular issues that should be taken into account in considering development on any particular sites or in any particular areas, please provide details.
The impression is given on page 19 that the GBHMA study primarily relates to Green Belt but its scope is wider than that and the table should reflect the full scope of the study.
The above mentioned study includes landscape assessment which complements, but is a separate assessment to the Green Belt work. However, given the cross boundary implications, account should be taken of Landscape Character Assessment at the more localised level where such evidence exists. Cannock Chase Council has published (and updated) its Landscape Character Assessment so this will need to be given due consideration as work on the plan moves forward, as will consideration of other evidence of relevance such as that relating to the historic environment / landscape and setting. Further discussions on these matters would be welcomed as the detail of the plan starts to emerge.
Further discussion will be needed on transport to ensure that the full evidence base and most up to date situation is considered in relation to the appropriate stage of the plan.
It should also be noted that the evidence base on Cannock Chase SAC is in the process of being updated and so the Black Country authorities will need to continue to engage (as they currently are doing) in this process via the Cannock Chase SAC partnership. This is covered under key issue 5 and also in paragraph 3.61 but needs to be cross referenced to the evidence table.
Discussions are also ongoing in relation to the Cannock Extension Canal SAC and also the restoration of the line of the Lichfield and Hatherton canal and it is possible that further evidence may be required in relation to this and the advice and guidance of Natural England will be essential as the plan progresses, particularly if there are cross boundary implications from the emerging plan so dialogue under the Duty to Co-operate will need to be ongoing (again as already is the case).
Question 3: do you agree that the housing need identified for the Black Country over the period 2014-36 in the SHMA, and the anticipated amount of supply are appropriate and in line with national guidance?
Paragraph 3.18 references the agreement to test the accommodation of an extra 3000 homes up to 2031 beyond local need to help address the shortfall in the wider HMA, however this will need to be considered in the light of the emerging evidence base in the GBHMA so the situation needs to be kept under review.
Question 5: Do you agree with the proposed approach to the Black Country Green Belt review?
Yes, as this picks up the higher tier work which is ongoing at the GBHMA level, however discussions will need to be ongoing under the Duty to Co-operate in relation to more localised work to ensure alignment and consistency where there are cross boundary implications: Cannock Chase Council published its own Green Belt assessment in 2016. Comments submitted under Question 1 are reiterated here in relation to the Call for Sites process.
Green Belt options should not only be considered in terms of their suitability (or not) for development but also whether they can play a role in being utilised more effectively in terms of a Green Infrastructure network which can serve a wide range of purposes (enhanced biodiversity, sport and recreation uses for example) which can enhance quality of life and potentially mitigate for the impacts of development on both a local and strategic scale. This should be explored further, in conjunction with partners across the HMA as work on the plan progresses.
Question 7: Do you think that the Core strategy vision and sustainability principles remain appropriate?
In principle, yes, however as set out in the response to Question 1 this will need to be kept under review in the light of the emerging evidence base. Whilst already covered via policy CSP3 of the 2011 strategy, the role of Green Infrastructure could be strengthened through the new plan, particularly (but not exclusively) in relation to the Green Belt as it can serve a wide range of purposes (enhanced biodiversity, sport and recreation uses for example) to enhance quality of life and potentially mitigate for the impacts of development on both a local and strategic scale.
Question 8: do you think that the Core Strategy spatial objectives remain appropriate?
In principle, yes, however as set out in the response to Question 1 this will need to be kept under review in the light of the emerging evidence base. Whilst already covered via policy CSP3 of the 2011 strategy, the role of Green Infrastructure could be strengthened through the new plan, particularly (but not exclusively) in relation to the Green Belt as it can serve a wide range of purposes (enhanced biodiversity, sport and recreation uses for example) to enhance quality of life and potentially mitigate for the impacts of development on both a local and strategic scale (potentially including that which may impact on the Cannock Chase SAC).
Question 9: Do you agree that policies CSP1 and CSP2 should be retained and updated to reflect new evidence and growth proposals outside the growth Network?
In broad terms, yes although this will depend upon the detail of the emerging evidence (and see response to Question 1). Green Belt policy will need to be reconsidered however as new defensible and permanent boundaries may need to be set through this process.
Question 15a: if all housing need cannot be met within the Black Country, do you support the 'export' of housing growth to neighbouring authorities within the HMA? What factors should be taken into account in an assessment of the opportunities in neighbouring authorities eg proximity to the edge of the urban area, proximity to a rail station, availability of existing infrastructure, easy access to jobs?
Firstly, there would need to be clear and justified evidence that the Black Country has explored every reasonable opportunity to deliver as much development as possible within its own boundaries so this will depend upon the evidence which is still underway. Secondly, any shortfall relating to the Black Country should be considered 'in the round' ie not just in terms of those areas which have a direct boundary with the Black Country but as a whole as per the evidence base which is currently being prepared across the GBHMA (which will also avoid the risk of any double counting).
Earlier questions have raised the matter of the Call for Sites potentially covering cross boundary options including sites in neighbouring districts and our response to questions 1 and 5 should therefore also be noted here.
Should export of growth be required, close working will be required to ensure sustainable development and alignment between the BCCS and neighbouring plans.
Question 19a / b - do you support Spatial Option E4? Should any factors be taken into account in an assessment of the opportunities?
Please see answer to question 15a.
Questions 26 / 27 and 28: Infrastructure
As the plan progresses, further discussions will be required on infrastructure issues depending on which sites / options are to be looked at further, as there may well be cross boundary implications which need to be addressed.
Questions 32 / 33: Health and Wellbeing
The role of sport and recreation could be strengthened (figure 10) as could the role of Green Infrastructure in providing for a range of needs.
Question 38: do you think that the current accessibility and density standards are appropriate for Green Belt release locations? If no, what standards should be applied in these locations and why?
As the adopted strategy does not allow for Green Belt release, presumably this means those standards set out in policy HOU2? Not all Green Belt sites will be the same as their context will vary on a case by case basis, and while the current policy allows for this to some extend further discussions will be needed in areas where there are cross boundary implications to ensure consistency between local plan approaches.
Question 49a: is there still a need for existing Policy DEL2 in order to manage the release of poorer quality employment land for housing?
Employment policy needs to be brought up to date to reflect the NPPF. Given the pressures on the need to find enough sites for housing poorer quality employment sites which are no longer fit for purpose should be considered for housing needs where appropriate and sustainable to reduce pressures elsewhere.
Question 50: Do you think that the Core Strategy should continue to set a target for the total employment land stock in policy EMP1? Do you think that distinguishing between Strategic high quality Employment Areas and Local Quality employment Areas is still appropriate?
The Core Strategy needs to reflect current national policy and guidance. As the plan (and evidence base) moves forward, delivering any net uplift (as per paragraph 6.58) will need to be explored further. As with housing, growth may well have strategic and cross boundary implications and further dialogue will be needed as the plan is developed.
Question 55: do you agree with the proposal to retain Policy EMP5?
Yes, it is important that the developers / owners of major new job-creating developments contribute to the recruitment and training of local people, which could also have cross boundary implications and benefits.
Question 56: Do you agree with the proposal to update Policy EMP6 in line with current priorities?
Yes. By promoting and enhancing the range of facilities within the Black Country it will provide visitors and residents with a range of activities which may reduce the pressures upon other, sensitive environments which are a draw for tourism, including the Cannock Chase SAC.
Question 74: In the context of the 'centres first' strategy, should the threshold approach be reviewed to consider the appropriateness, scale and impact of development in and on the edge of strategic, town and local centres?
Yes - this approach is appropriate and consistent with the NPPF where supported by evidence and is designed to protect the vitality and viability of town centres which also has cross boundary implications.
Question 81: do you agree that the approach of strong control over out of centre development is still appropriate in the context of the strategy to ensure the vitality and viability of the Black Country Centres?
Yes - see answer to Question 74. This does not just relate to the vitality and viability of Black Country centres but also has implications beyond the Black Country.
Question 88: do you agree that the overall transport strategy supports all of the Core strategy spatial objectives? Together with questions 89 (proposed changes to the priorities for the transport network), 90 (changes relating to managing transport impacts of new developments), 91 (the efficient movement of freight), 92 (network for walking and cycling) and 93 (changes to Policy TRAN5 - travel and travel choices)
The transport implications of the plan will have far reaching consequences beyond the boundaries of the Black Country. Cannock Chase Council continues to engage proactively with a range of partnerships dealing with transport issues and will continue to do so as the detail of the plan progresses.
Re: Policy TRAN1 - Priorities for the Development of the Transport Network
Question 89 - Do you support the proposed changes to the priorities for the development of the transport network? Yes/No; Please explain why.
Reference should be made to completion of the £100m, Walsall-Rugeley, Chase Line electrification/linespeed upgrade, which will lead to faster and more frequent services north of Walsall to the west Coast Main Line at Rugeley Trent Valley. The route will also provide an alternative diversionary route between Birmingham and Stafford for long distance passenger and freight services, when the Birmingham-Wolverhampton-Stafford, Stour Valley route, is closed for maintenance.
Reference should be made to the future ownership of the M6T and also the future role of the parallel A5T, which has a dual carriageway section through the Walsall MBC area at Brownhills.
Reference should be made to the Chase Line Station Alliance
* Network Rail and WMR is developing an innovative 'Stations Alliance', which, together with Abellio, the new West Midlands franchise operator, is hoped to bring about substantial improvements to West Midlands rail stations.
* The Alliance has created a WMR Stations Vision so that they are instantly recognisable in the areas which they serve and also integrate properly into the community.
* Stations should act as 'Gateways,' with quality infrastructure and more facilities such as shops.
* Network Rail are only funded to maintain stations to CP3 standards and 7-9 year franchises, do little to incentivize operators to invest in stations.
* Funded by Black Country and Stoke and Staffordshire LEPs and West Midlands Rail work is already underway to develop some indicative Master Plans for two trial routes - the Stour Valley Line from Birmingham to Wolverhampton (exclusive) and Chase Line stations north of Walsall.
* Options for funding the works will also be considered as part of a commission, which is due to be completed by Autumn 2017.
* GHD consultants have been appointed and site inspections of all stations carried out on with the consultant and local authorities, was in June.
* The study is in two stages:- Stage 1 is to confirm the projects for outline development. It is anticipated that this stage will result in a shortlist of projects for further development.
* Stage 2 will develop outline a master plan for each of the prioritised stations from Stage
WMCA Transport Delivery Committee endorsed this approach on 3 April 2017.
Re: Policy TRAN3 - The Efficient Movement of Freight
Question 91 - Do you support the proposed changes relating to the efficient movement of freight? Yes/No; If no, please explain why.
R: Reference should be made to the proposed Mid Cannock road/rail interchange proposal by Pentalver. The facility would have the potential to be served by between 4 - 6 freight trains a day and serve the Black Country area.
Question 94: do you support the proposed changes relating to environmental infrastructure and place making?
Whilst already covered via policy CSP3 of the 2011 strategy, the role of Green Infrastructure could be strengthened through the new plan, particularly (but not exclusively) in relation to the Green Belt as it can serve a wide range of purposes (enhanced biodiversity, sport and recreation uses for example) to enhance quality of life and potentially mitigate for the impacts of development on both a local and strategic scale (potentially including that which may impact on the Cannock Chase SAC).
Question 96: Do you support the proposed changes relating to nature conservation?
The plan will need to ensure it takes into account any cross boundary implications as set out in the response to Question 2: the evidence base on Cannock Chase SAC is in the process of being updated and so the Black Country authorities will need to continue to engage (as they currently are doing) in this process via the Cannock Chase SAC partnership. This is covered under key issue 5 and also in paragraph 3.61 and potentially a policy may be needed to address SAC issues to align with the approach of other SAC Partnership authorities. The advice of Natural England will also be key to this issue.

Attachments:

Support

Black Country Core Strategy Issue and Option Report

Representation ID: 1971

Received: 17/11/2017

Respondent: Campaign To Protect Rural England

Representation:

The rail network is under considerable pressure with lines such as the Chase Line carrying large increases in passengers. New development outside the conurbation could exacerbate this. There are issues of parking, for example at Stourbridge Junction, where it has reached capacity restricting passenger growth on that line. A balanced approach to the provision of car parking and public transport access is needed to ensure rail growth is maximised.

Full text:

Dear Sirs,
This is a covering letter for CPRE's response to the Black Country Core Strategy. This consists of two documents:
* A response to the various questions ('Options response).
* A detailed report on demographic issues ('Housing and Employment Options').
CPRE is a campaigning charity, which is a coalition of a national charity and branches in most counties, which are mostly independent charities. CPRE West Midlands is a regional group of the national charity, whose scope is the West Midlands region.
Our regional chairmanship is technically vacant. As an interim measure, we have agreed a rotating chairmanship, which I currently hold. You may however like also to note the e-mail address of our regional secretary,
Yours Faithfully,
From the Acting Chairman

Black Country Core Strategy Issues and Options
Response for WM CPRE
Sept 2017

Introduction
1. The West Midlands Regional Group of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) welcomes this opportunity to respond to the consultation on the Black Country Core Strategy Review and commend the professional nature of the work done by Officers so far.
2. As a charity with about 60,000 members, a branch in every county, over 200 district groups and more than 2,000 parish council members we work locally and nationally to protect, shape and enhance a beautiful, thriving countryside for everyone to value and enjoy.
3. This response was developed with the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Branches of CPRE, who are responsible for monitoring planning in the Black Country.
4. In developing our response we commissioned an independent consultant to
review the economic and housing evidence base and his report is attached.
5. We note that he has concluded that more clarity is needed on the benefits or otherwise of releasing employment land for housing to reach a firm conclusion and we suggest this is work the authorities may want to progress as they move towards a preferred option.
6. We do have some concerns about the wording of the on-line questionnaire, particularly the first two questions. In effect they ask respondents where extra housing and employment land should go as if the quantity of land required was fixed. This is not the case and, to avoid bias, respondents should have been asked whether they agreed with the assumptions about housing and employment need. We hope that this will be addressed in future consultations.

Overarching Comments
7. CPRE is in favour of a continuation of the centres and corridors approach and the ongoing stress on urban regeneration. This, however, has been put under threat by the assumed housing and employment land need.
8. As set out in the attached report we believe there is additional capacity which reduces (or removes) the need for Green Belt housing. We also believe that the level of employment land needed is not as high. There may be some need for larger employment sites, but this needs to take account of land available in adjacent authorities, including (as it stands) all of Four Ashes.
9. In principle we support industrial land which is no longer suitable being used for housing, but this is a complex issue which requires further analysis.
10. We believe it will be as important what type of housing is provided and there needs to be adequate affordable and social housing. In particular there is a need to address directly both accommodation for the elderly, whose numbers will dramatically increase, and housing for young people who are struggling to enter the market.
11. We are concerned that a review of Green Belt appears to be being driven solely by numbers, rather than by policy considerations and that allocations in the Green Belt could undermine urban regeneration.
12. We are in favour of strong policies to support centres, but these need to be framed within a changing environment where some centres may need to shrink or diversify to meet future needs.
13. We want to see a dramatic improvement in public transport provision which supports the regeneration of the Black Country.
14. We also believe more consideration should be given to air pollution, both from
transport and other sources. The issue with diesel cars has increased the awareness of this and yet it is appears to be only obliquely addressed in the strategy.
15. Lastly, the strategy needs to continue the strong emphasis on environmental improvement, including developing the Garden City idea, and it needs to acknowledge the value of the countryside within the Black Country's boundaries.

Responses to Individual Questions

Question 1 - Do you agree that the Core Strategy review should be a partial review, retaining and stretching the existing spatial strategy and updating existing policies? Yes/No; If not, what do you think should be the scope of the review?

Yes, we agree that a partial review is appropriate. However, we are concerned that some elements are being dealt with out of context with the wider conurbation. In particular, while accepting there may be a need for some larger high quality employment sites across the Combined Authority Area, the basis for this would be wider than the Black Country. Sites such as Peddimore are already going ahead, and we do not believe it would be helpful to over-allocate competing large sites, which would lead to loss of Green Belt and might not be fully occupied.

Question 2 - Do you think that the key evidence set out in Table 1 is sufficient to support the key stages of the Core Strategy review? Yes/No; If not, what further evidence is required and, if there are any particular issues that should be taken into account in considering development on any particular sites or in any particular areas, please provide details.

Yes, the evidence does provide a basis for the review. However, we do not fully agree with the conclusions drawn on housing and employment land as set out in the attached report. This impacts on our response to later questions. We cannot comment on the Green Belt review as it stands since we do not have details as yet.

Question 3 - Do you agree that the housing need identified for the Black Country over the period 2014-36 in the SHMA, and the anticipated amount of supply, are appropriate and in line with national guidance? Yes/No; If not, please explain why they are not appropriate and in line with national guidance.

No, we do not, as is set out in the attached report. In particular we are concerned in supply terms about the double counting of homes resulting from the market uplift identified in South Staffordshire, the questionable need to provide for under-provision from 2011 to 2014, especially as there was over provision in 2015 and no adverse market signals in those years except in South Staffordshire where there was over-provision. Furthermore the Oxford Economic Analysis which, unlike SNPP, allows population migration based on relative economic success, suggests that, even under the most fortuitous circumstances, that is to say delivery of the SuperSEP, some 6,000 households will migrate out of the conurbation beyond those accounted for in the SNPP figures. Since Oxford's Economic Analysis is being widely relied on, this hypothesis should be further tested.

There is a further problem with the trend analysis because it relies on Unattributed Population Growth which SNPP does not. Further analysis should be done discounting UPC, which results from a variety of causes but may not be indicative of the future to reach a reasonable view on likely housing need.

This is particularly important because, while the majority of household growth comes from aging households, about a third comes from migration. We cannot be sure international migration rates will stay as high in a post-Brexit world while out migration to other parts of the UK may continue unabated.

In terms of the supply we cannot identify reasons to disagree with the position taken except in relation to large windfalls and current industrial land. It is clear that many current industrial sites, if they became vacant, would not be considered suitable for industrial use and become housing sites. In other words there is a large pool of potential windfall sites. The assessment of existing industrial land potentially suitable for housing seems to vary across the four boroughs but is clearly very substantial. In other words, even if the policy to release industrial land to housing is not taken forwards, sites will come forward. That being the case the local authorities should, in our view, be less cautious in their approach to large windfalls and assume a continuation at current rates.

Without including additional industrial land these factors could still add up to some 12,500 more homes available than is being suggested and substantially reduce the supposed deficit.

It also is important to understand these factors, because put together all these elements could mean the proportion of elderly people in the population was higher than currently envisaged making the type of housing created even more important.

Question 4 - Do you consider the employment land requirement identified for the Black Country up to 2036 in the EDNA is appropriate and in line with national guidance? Yes/No; If not, please explain why they are not appropriate and in line with national guidance.

No, we don't. There is a broad range of figures for future employment need. Much of what is needed for smaller sites can be found based on the available employment land, even assuming the current trend continues. In terms of larger sites the EDNA identifies a need for larger sites, with none currently available over 20 hectares, (although the extension to i54 in South Staffordshire would fulfil that requirement.) To meet SuperSEP requirements it suggests there is a need for roughly 300 hectares of land not currently identified, the majority for logistics. It then discounts 170 hectares of land out of 270 has total at the Four Ashes site for no obvious reasons since it is clearly within the area and would serve the Black Country. This might leave 130 hectares but even that has to be seen in the light of the SuperSEP as a wider strategy, which includes large sites such as Peddimore in Birmingham.

In our view there may be a need for a very limited release of sites over 20 hectares across the SuperSEP area and these are unlikely to be found in the conurbation but, the result of releasing very large amounts of Green Belt land in the Black Country and competing with Four Ashes, Peddimore and other existing business parks and logistics sites, (both in the West and East Midlands,) is likely to be both oversupply and underused sites, which would severely harm the countryside and encourage unsustainable patterns of travel.

Question 5 - Do you agree with the proposed approach to the Black Country Green Belt Review? Yes/No; If not, what additional work do you think is necessary?

No. The approach to the Green Belt review is consistently wrong. It is identified as being solely to identify enough land to meet the housing and employment figures in the SHMA and EDNA. But this does not justify exceptional circumstances.

The NPPG guidance is clear:

However, assessing need is just the first stage in developing a Local Plan. Once need has been assessed, the local planning authority should prepare a strategic housing land availability assessment to establish realistic assumptions about the availability, suitability and the likely economic viability of land to meet the identified need for housing over the plan period, and in so doing take account of any constraints such as green belt, which indicate that development should be restricted and which may restrain the ability of an authority to meet its need.

In other words, even if both the OAN is correct and the housing supply figure is correct, which we question (see answer to Question 2), the Green Belt review should not simply identify land to meet that need, it should seek to establish whether the level of land provision should be lower that the OAN because of the constraint of Green Belt.

In other words, Exceptional Circumstances should only be established if there are strategic justifications for the releases.

Question 6 - Do you agree that the key issues set out in Part 3 are the key issues that need to be taken into account through the Core Strategy Review? Yes/No; If not, what other key issues should be taken into account?

We agree with most of them. We do not agree with the assumed figure for housing or that it is 'inevitable' that Green Belt will have to be released. That is a policy choice which needs to be assessed taking account of the high level of proof for 'exceptional' Green Belt release.

The key issues do not address the social impacts of the Core Strategy adequately and in particular fail to place sufficient emphasis on the housing needs of an aging population, which is clearly evident in the demographic evidence.

Question 7 - Do you think that the Core Strategy vision and sustainability principles remain appropriate? Yes/No; If not, what alternatives would you suggest?

Yes, we supported the principles of the Black Country Core Strategy. In particular we supported the emphasis on urban regeneration and the importance of environmental improvement and enhanced public transport provision to deliver an area people wanted to live in. We also supported the principle of Corridors and Centres. There is a serious risk in our view that the approach to housing and employment land, driven by theoretical numbers rather than strategy, will undermine this approach and rather than lead to improved delivery will export housing and employment into the Green Belt, encouraging unsustainable patterns of development.

Question 9 - Do you agree that Policies CSP1 and CSP2 should be retained and updated to reflect new evidence and growth proposals outside the Growth Network? Yes/No; If not, what changes do you think should be made to Policies CSP1 and CSP2 in response to new challenges and opportunities?

Yes, they should be retained and updated. Their aspirations need to guide the approach to current needs. They should not be diluted.

Question 10 - In continuing to promote growth within the Growth Network, is there a need to amend the boundaries of any of the Regeneration Corridors in the existing Core Strategy? Yes/No; If so, which boundaries and why?

We do not have any examples to give.

Question 11a - Do you support Strategic Option 1A? Yes/No; If yes, please explain why. If no, do you support Option 1B? Yes/No; If yes, please explain why.
If you support the release of further employment land for housing, what should the characteristics of these employment areas be?

Even if we accepted the figures we do not believe the evidence is good enough yet to make a fully informed choice. Further work needs to be done in the development of the Preferred Option to identify consistently how much employment land might be available across the boroughs and how likely it would be to remain in employment use. This work needs to come to conclusions as to the relative benefit of either use, so that a realistic figure of land that would be better in housing use can be produced. One important element in achieving this will be to ensure there are up to date registers of brownfield land for all the authorities.

Prior to that we favour an approach somewhere in the middle, albeit we do not believe the need for Green Belt release is likely to be as high as is being claimed.

Question 11b - Are there any current employment areas that might be considered suitable for redevelopment to housing? Yes/No; Please submit specific sites through the 'call for sites' form.

We have no sites we can comment on.

Question 12a - Do you support Spatial Option H1? Yes/No; What criteria should be used to select suitable sites? e.g. ability to create a defensible new green belt boundary, size, access to existing residential services.

We do not have a categorical view on either option, although it is important that both are considered on their merits and it may be the choice varies from location to location. While some small sites at the edge of the conurbation may have less impact on the aims of Green Belt, they can represent important community assets, they may have wildlife value and they may act as important Green wedges into the city. On the other hand SUEs can be highly intrusive and may not be close to existing transport networks. We would, therefore, suggest both are considered as options, should such land be needed, and that the criteria for sites should have strong ecological and transport elements as well as addressing the purposes of Green Belt.

Question 12b - Do you think there are any potential locations that should be considered? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details (please submit specific sites through the 'call for sites' form).

We have no sites to offer.

Question 13a - Do you support Spatial Option H2? Yes/No; What should the characteristics of Sustainable Urban Areas (SUEs) be? e.g. minimum/ maximum size, mix of uses, mix of housing types, accessibility to other areas.

What criteria should be used to select suitable sites? e.g. proximity to a rail station, availability of existing infrastructure, easy access to jobs, potential to support existing settlements / services, proximity to the existing growth network, potential to support urban regeneration.

See answer to Question 12a.

Question 13b - What infrastructure do you think would be needed for different sizes of SUEs?

Clearly it depends on size but access to services would be critical, as well as access to transport. Larger SUEs may be more at risk of poor connectivity so that would need to be addressed both in location and in terms of ensuring the internal design supported sustainable transport.

Question 13c - Are there any potential locations that should be considered for SUEs (please submit through the 'call for sites' form) and what infrastructure would be required to support these?

We have no sites to offer.

Question 13d - Do you think that the Core Strategy should set out detailed guidance for the development of SUEs (e.g. type and tenure of housing, specific infrastructure required), rather than details being determined at a local level in light of local policies? Yes/No; Any further comments?

Yes, if SUEs are developed there should be policy guidance in terms of tenure and infrastructure. In particular there should be identified provision for older households and their needs should be considered in the overall master-planning as well as affordable housing for young people. Furthermore, such master plans should be given force as planning documents by being adopted as Area Action Plans. This is particularly important where a SUE is involves multiple owners.

Question 14 - Do you think there are any other deliverable and sustainable Housing Spatial Options? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

We have none to offer at this stage.

Question 15a - If all housing need cannot be met within the Black Country, do you support the 'export' of housing growth to neighbouring authorities within the HMA? Yes/No; What factors should be taken into account in an assessment of the opportunities in neighbouring authorities e.g. proximity to the edge of the urban area, proximity to a rail station, availability of existing infrastructure, easy access to jobs?

In most cases exporting homes is likely to exacerbate problems in other Local Authorities. However, where OANs in neighbouring authorities have been increased on the basis of migration trends, and those trends rely on migration from the Black Country, it may be that some of those OAN figures should actually be deemed to reduce need in the Black Country, thus avoiding double-counting.

Question 15b - Do you think there are any potential locations that should be considered? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

We have none to offers at this stage.

Question 15c - Do you think there are ways to ensure that exporting housing will meet the needs of people who would otherwise live in the Black Country? (e.g. transport improvements, provision of affordable housing, creation of employment opportunities) Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

It depends how far out the export is.

Question 16 - Do you support Spatial Option E1? Yes/No; What type of sites are needed to meet the needs of industry and what criteria should be used to select sites? (e.g. quick motorway access)

If you think that are any potential locations that should be considered please provide details (please submit specific sites through the 'call for sites' form).

Assuming land is needed, we do not support any one of these options in particular. The approach should be varied according to the landscape and transport impacts, as well as Green Belt aims. It will be important that any sites which are released are not just justified by numbers but serve a strategic need for the sub-region. This may mean restricting such releases to sites over 20 has.

Question 17 - Do you support Spatial Option E2? Yes/No; What type of sites are needed to meet the needs of industry and what criteria should be used to select sites e.g. quick motorway access, good sustainable transport links?

See Question 16. Rail Access should be important in this case and access to public transport for employees.

If you think that are any potential locations that should be considered please provide details (please submit specific sites through the 'call for sites' form).

We do not offer any sites.

Question 18 - Do you support Spatial Option E3? Yes/No; What type of sites are needed to meet the needs of industry and what criteria should be used to select sites? (e.g. quick motorway access)

See Question 17.

If you think that are any potential locations that should be considered please provide details (please submit specific sites through the 'call for sites' form).

See Question 17.

Question 19a - Do you support Spatial Option E4? Yes/No; Any further comments?

See Question 17.

Question 19b - Should any factors be taken into account in an assessment of the opportunities? Yes/No; If yes, what should they be? (e.g. quick motorway access, strong transport links with the Black Country, good sustainable transport links with the Black Country)

See Question 17.

If you think there are any potential locations that should be considered, please provide details.

See Question 17.

Question 20 - Do you think there are any other deliverable and sustainable Employment Land Spatial Options? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

See Question 17.

Question 21 - Do you think that changes are required to Policy DEL1 to ensure it covers both development within the existing urban area and any within the Green Belt?

Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

We do not have any suggestions to offer at this stage.

Question 22 - Do you have evidence of a requirement for new social infrastructure to serve existing needs?

Yes/No; If yes, please provide details of the type of facility and where it should be located.

Not at this stage. But note our concern about the aging population who will have specific needs.

Question 23 - Do you have evidence of social infrastructure that is no longer needed and where the site could be reallocated for alternative uses? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

Not at this stage. But note our concern about the aging population who will have specific needs.

Question 24 - Do you have evidence of pressure being placed on the capacity of current social infrastructure which could be exacerbated by new housing? Yes/No;

If yes, please provide details.

Not at this stage. But note our concern about the aging population who will have specific needs.

Question 25 - Will there be any new social infrastructure requirements necessary to serve large new housing developments? Yes/No; If yes, please explain the type and scale of any new social infrastructure required.

Not at this stage. But note our concern about the aging population who will have specific needs.

Question 26 - Do you have any evidence of a requirement for new physical infrastructure to serve existing needs? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details of the type of facility and where it should be located.

See our later comments on transport infrastructure.

Question 27 - Do you have evidence of pressure being placed on the capacity of current physical infrastructure which could be exacerbated by new developments? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

The rail network is under considerable pressure with lines such as the Chase Line carrying large increases in passengers. New development outside the conurbation could exacerbate this. There are issues of parking, for example at Stourbridge Junction, where it has reached capacity restricting passenger growth on that line. A balanced approach to the provision of car parking and public transport access is needed to ensure rail growth is maximised.

Question 28 - Do you think physical infrastructure is necessary to serve large new housing developments? Yes/No; If yes, what type and scale of physical infrastructure is necessary?

Yes, all types.

Question 29 - Do you think there are any other tools or interventions that could be used to ensure enough infrastructure is provided by developments? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

No comments at this stage.

Question 30 - Do you have any suggestions around how the strategy can be developed in order to maintain the urban regeneration focus of the Black Country while at the same time bringing forward sites in the green belt? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

Green Belt sites inevitably compete with brown field sites. One of the purposes of Green Belt is to support urban regeneration. We do not believe the need for Green Belt sites is as great as anticipated, but (if they are designated) phasing should be used to control how much land comes forward at once, thus supporting urban regeneration.

Question 31 - Do you think that the right scale and form of funding is available to support the delivery of the Core Strategy review? Yes/No; If no, what alternative sources of funding or delivery mechanisms should be investigated?

No comment at this stage.

Question 32 - Do you think that the proposed approach to incorporate health and wellbeing issues in the Core Strategy review is appropriate? Yes/No; If no, please provide details

We welcome the use of health impact assessments of the strategy. We would like to see a strategy to increase the health of the population from cradle to grave, which would include encouraging access to open space and the countryside for all members of the community and improving walking and cycling provision and take up.

We are less convinced of the reliance on sustainability appraisals for new sites, particularly large scale Green Belt incursions. SAs are likely to assume some sort of development will go ahead at the site and then seek the best option. SAs are useful in terms of how individual sites are developed but are not designed to answer the question: is releasing the site at all necessary or desirable?

Question 33 - Is there more that the Core Strategy can do to address health and wellbeing issues in the Black Country? Yes/No; If yes, is a new policy needed to address such issues for example?

There are a whole range of interventions which are needed to improve health and well being. The Garden City approach, with its emphasis on environmental improvement and enhancement, is one element. Providing improvements to sustainable transport modes is another key element. Addressing the quality of existing housing stock is also needed. Providing local facilities, for health, education and leisure is also key and ensuring these are accessible to all.

There is also a need to specifically address the needs of the increasing number of older people. This includes policies to ensure there is adequate supply of housing which is suitable for older people in locations where they have access to facilities. This will also reduce the prevalence of loneliness and other health issues among the elderly.

Question 34a - Do you agree that the health and wellbeing impacts of large development proposals should be considered at the Preferred Spatial Option stage of the Core Strategy review through a Health Impact Assessment approach? Yes/No; Any further comments?

Yes, provided there is a proper assessment of alternative approaches rather than just how to deliver the site.

Question 34b - What design features do you think are key to ensuring new development encourages healthy living, which could be accessed through the HIA process?

In terms of detailed design, environment, permeability and access to public transport are key. There is also a need to ensure enough housing is with design features for those less able.

Question 35 - Do you support the proposed approach to housing land supply? Yes/No; If no, please explain why.

We support the reduction in the discount figure. We support a windfall allowance, although, as set out above, we believe the level of larger windfalls should assume a continuation of current trends. Consideration of how to achieve more mixed used development in centres and a reduction in vacancy rates should also be considered.

Question 36 - Do you think that the current accessibility and density standards set out in Policy HOU2 and Table 8 should be changed? Yes/No; If yes, what standards should be applied instead, for example should the minimum net density of 35 dwellings per hectare be increased to maximise brownfield housing delivery?

Table 8 is useful but, given the issue of an aging population, the table should also include a provision for housing which is designed to meet that specific need.

We would support an increase to 40 dph, provided there was flexibility for sites where environmental or local character meant that was not appropriate.

Question 37a - Do you think that the existing Policy HOU2 site size threshold should be kept at 15 homes or more? Yes/No; If no, please explain why

We are content with 15 homes but the policy needs to require all developers to establish that they have sought to use land in an efficient way, even under 15 homes.

Question 37b - If no, should it be reduced to 11 homes or more? Yes/No; If no what other threshold should be used and why?

While we are content with 15 homes the policy needs to require all developers to establish that they have sought to use land in an efficient way. If that is not deemed practical it may be worth reducing it to 11 homes.

Question 38 - Do you think that the current accessibility and density standards are appropriate for green belt release locations? Yes/No; If no, what standards should be applied in these locations and why?

We do not believe that Green Belt sites should have lower access standards. It is important that the inevitable impacts on sprawl and sustainability are mitigated by the provision of local facilities and by the use of good urban design. In particular, Green Belt developments have typically been poorly designed for public transport accessibility and walking and cycling. However, whatever standards are implemented, local character and environmental considerations must also be considered.

Question 39 - Do you think separate accessibility standards are needed for particular types of housing e.g. housing for the elderly or affordable housing (as occupiers may be less mobile and more dependent on public transport)? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

There is a need to ensure housing for the elderly and the disabled is fully accessible and takes account of the deterioration in mobility that may lead to people being unable to stay in their own home. However, this might be better resolved with a separate policy which sets out the requirement for housing for the elderly, along with the criteria for ensuring that meets their needs.

Question 40 - Do you agree that the 2017 SHMA findings should be used to set general house type targets for the Plan period? Yes/No; If no, please explain why.

They can assist but the need is not only to identify how many houses with a particular number of bedrooms but to ensure new housing is provided to meet specific needs, such as the increase in older residents and the need for affordable homes for young people.

Question 41a - Do you support the introduction of a policy approach towards self and custom build housing in the Core Strategy? Yes/No; If yes, would you support:

Yes, a policy is required. This could help in a modest way to ensure small windfall sites come forward for development.

Question 41b - A target for each authority? Yes/No; Any further comments

We do not have a view.

Question 41c - A requirement for large housing sites to provide serviced plots? Yes/No; Any further comments?

We do not have a view.

Question 41d - Another approach altogether? Yes/No; If yes, please specify.

We do not have a view.

Question 41e - Do you support the use of a variety of local approaches to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) across the Black Country? Yes/No; If no, please explain why.

This is an issue in some areas of the Black Country, which can undermine an area if there is not the infrastructure to support HMOs. Not only can it lead to traffic congestion, it can overwhelm local health and education provision. Some HMOs appear to be of poor quality and not necessarily managed in a way which benefits the local community. As we understand it Local Authorities have powers to require planning permission where there is a problem with HMOs. While, it is probably not for the Core Strategy to be prescriptive it could refer to those powers.

Question 42 - Do you agree that the annual affordable homes target should be increased to reflect the 2017 Black Country Strategic Housing Market Assessment? Yes/No; If no, please explain why.

Yes, we agree there is a need for sufficient affordable homes.

Question 43a - Do you think that the existing Policy HOU3 site size threshold should be kept at 15 homes or more? Yes/No; If no, please explain why.

We are concerned about the way in which thresholds work. If the threshold is 15, it encourages developers to bring forward schemes for 14 houses, so that they do not have to comply with the more onerous requirements above the threshold. Where there is an affordable housing requirement of 35% (and some councils are managing 40%) affordable, and the threshold is 15, the developer of a 15-house site will have to provide 5.25 affordable houses, but the developer of 14-house site will provide zero. Since affordable houses are less profitable, the threshold provides a perverse incentive not to build affordable houses. Given the need a lower threshold might be desirable, (always taking account of local character.) and this would be in line with NPPG but we would like to see consideration of how to ensure affordable homes on smaller sites.

Question 43b - If no, should it be reduced to 11 homes or more? Yes/No; If no, what threshold should be used?

Given the need a lower threshold would be desirable, taking account of local character. This seems to be in line with NPPG. We share the concerns expressed in the Preferred Option that an increase in the provision of starter homes which are not genuinely affordable may impact on other affordable tenures and would welcome work to try and address this issue within the current regulations.

Question 44a - Do you think that the affordable housing requirement for eligible sites in Question 43 should be kept at 25% of the total number of homes on the site?

Yes /No; Any further comments?

Consideration needs to be given to the location of the sites. See answer to Question 45.

Question 44b If no, should the percentage be increased to allow for the provision of affordable home ownership? Yes/No; If yes, what should the percentage be and why?

Consideration needs to be given to the location of the sites. See answer to Question 45.

Question 45 - Should an increased affordable housing requirement be set for green belt release sites, to reflect the likely financial viability of these sites? Yes/No; If yes, what should this be.

Yes, we would support this provided those Green Belt sites were also designed to be in sustainable locations with good access to local facilities as affordable housing is likely to be needed disproportionately by people with mobility issues or without access to a car.

Question 46 - Do you agree with the proposed new gypsy, traveller and travelling showpeople accommodation targets? Yes/No; If no, please explain why.

Gypsies and other travelers are as entitled to a home as much as the settled community, but the location of their sites should be subject to the same criteria as for the settled community. The frequency of recent incursions on to public and other open space suggests there is a significant unmet need, which ought to be met. We are not able to comment on the specific figures but agree that sufficient sites need to be supplied to avoid illegal encampments. No Green Belt sites should be released unless exceptional circumstances can be proved.

Question 47 - Do you think that Policy HOU5 should be expanded to cover other types of built social infrastructure and to set out standards for built social infrastructure to serve major housing developments? Yes/No; If no, please explain why.

Yes, there is a need to address the availability and funding of all relevant facilities. There is a need to identify in this policy the impact of provision of housing for the elderly so that locational decisions on facilities are taken in the light of where the less able may be living.

Question 48 - Do you agree that the requirement in HOU5, to demonstrate there is adequate alternative provision to meet the needs of the community served by a facility which is to be lost, should be reviewed? Yes/No; If yes, please explain why.

We support the current policy.

Question 49a - Is there still a need for existing Policy DEL2 in order to manage the release of poorer quality employment land for housing? Yes/No; If no, please explain why.

Yes. Since employment land may become vacant that is not allocated and there is a need to examine its potential for release for housing and balance the benefits of alternative uses. In some cases these may not be housing. It may even be the land would be better used for open space or nature conservation. Perhaps the policy should allow for that.

Question 49b - If yes, should this policy be used to assess the release of employment land to alternative uses, other than housing? Yes/No; If yes, please explain why.

See answer to 49a

Question 50 - Do you think that the Core Strategy should continue to set a target for the total employment land stock in Policy EMP1? Yes/No; Please explain why.

The overall provision of employment land may not be as relevant as the changing nature of jobs today means they are less dependent on land allocations. If land goes out of employment use because a factory closes, for example, it may not be as important to replace that land as to provide the kind of sites needed for new jobs.

Do you think that distinguishing between Strategic High Quality Employment Areas and Local Quality Employment Areas is still appropriate? Yes/No; Please explain why.

Yes, provided the Black Country is seeking to improve the quality of existing sites and not simply relying on new allocations.

Question 51 - Do you think that the criteria used to define Strategic High Quality Employment Areas are appropriate and reflect actual market requirements? Yes/No; If not, how do you think the criteria and/or terminology should be amended?

We do not have a view at this stage.

Question 52 - Do you think that the criteria used to define Local Quality Employment Areas are appropriate and reflect actual market requirements? Yes/No; If not, how do you think the criteria and/or terminology should be amended?

We do not have a view at this stage.

Question 53 - Do you think that Strategic High Quality Employment Areas should continue to be protected for manufacturing and logistics uses, with the other uses set out in Policy EMP3 discouraged? Yes/no; If not, what alternative approach do you recommend?

Yes, we support this approach. High Quality land should not be squandered, both because it is needed to high quality jobs and because it can lead to environmental and countryside impacts if it has to be replaced

Question 54 - Do you agree that the current approach in Policy EMP4 is no longer fit for purpose and should be amended to reflect a portfolio based approach? Yes/No; If no, what alternative approaches would you recommend?

We agree that a balanced portfolio is likely to be a better approach.

Question 55 - Do you agree with the proposal to retain Policy EMP5? Yes/No; If no please explain why.

Yes.

Question 56 - Do you agree with the proposal to update Policy EMP6 in line with current priorities? Yes/No; If no, please explain why

Yes.

Question 57 - Do you support the proposal to merge Policy CEN1 and Policy CEN2, given that both policies focus on the overall strategy in the Black Country, including the hierarchy of centres? Yes/No; If you have any comments on Policies CEN1 and CEN2 please provide details.

Yes, provided the emphasis is retained and not diluted.

Question 58 - Do you think there is any evidence to suggest that the hierarchy of centres is not appropriate going forward in the context of the regeneration strategy? Yes/No; If so, please provide details.

No. Depending on where new housing goes there may be a need for additional local provision but the main four centres should remain the backbone of the spatial strategy.

Question 59 - Have all the appropriate centres within the Black Country been identified? Yes/No; If not, please specify additional centres.

Yes.

Question 60 - Is there evidence to suggest that identified centres are no longer performing as a centre or at their identified level in the hierarchy? Yes/No; If yes, do you agree that they should be moved / removed within or out of the hierarchy?

No.

Please explain why.

Question 61 - In addition to para 4.33 of the current Core Strategy should the revised Core Strategy include criteria for the creation of new centres that might be needed as a result of any additional housing identified through the plan? Yes/No; Any further comments

No. Depending on where new housing goes there may be a need for additional local provision but the main four centres should remain the backbone of the spatial strategy.

Question 62 - Do you agree that the Strategic Centres should remain the focus for large scale comparison retail (clothes, white goods etc), office and major commercial leisure development in the Black Country? Yes/No; Any further comments?

Yes, as well as seeking to increase housing provision within and close to those centres.

Question 63 - Do you agree that the targets for comparison retail floorspace and office floorspace should be revisited as part of this review to take into account current and future trends? Yes/No; Any further comments?

We are not able to give a detailed response but in general we consider that the policy should encourage a balance of development in the centres so they are attractive places to visit which serve a variety of needs. This may even mean a reduction in retail and an increase in leisure. It is probably as important to consider the quality of the retail offer and ensure anchor stores remain or are introduced.

A key element in the future of the main centres (and smaller ones) will be masterplanning to ensure there is a balance of provision. The introduction of a variety of uses will help centres to thrive. It is probably not for the Core Strategy to be too prescriptive but it should also not assume the pattern of retail will remain the same.

Question 64 - Is there a need to set targets for convenience retail floorspace in the Core Strategy? Yes/No; Any further comments?

We are not able to give a detailled response. A balanced approach is required and in some cases it may be better to reduce retail floorspace on the edge of centres to encourage a balance of uses. In particular the role of larger supermarkets may change in the future and require less land allowing for more mixed use on those existing sites and the introduction of smaller convenience stores.

Question 65 - Should the Core Strategy set any targets or policy requirements for leisure development in the Strategic Centres? Yes/No; Any further comments?

The strategy should encourage leisure facilities to be located in centres where they are accessible to all. This should include night time facilities as long as there is suitable planning to avoid and manage any anti-social behaviour.

Question 66 - Should the Core Strategy set new housing targets for the Strategic Centres through the review? Yes/No; Any further comments?

The strategy should encourage housing in centres. It should not only consider how much is needed but what kind of housing will best support those centres and, more widely, the overall strategy. For example, encouraging young entrepreneurs or professional workers to move into the centres may be key to developing the future economy more widely. In general we would like to see more use of upper stories over shops for housing.

Question 67 - Do you think there are any other uses and/or developments that should be planned for in the Strategic Centres? Yes/No; Please provide details.

There is a need to encourage the greening of centres, including provision of trees and other green features which have been lost in many. Their links to local green space, (for example Walsall Arboretum,) should also be promoted.

There is also a need to ensure centres are walkable with access to centres by sustainable modes from surrounding areas encouraged.

Question 68 - Do you agree with the proposal to re-examine the detail and appropriateness of the existing conditions for retail growth at Merry Hill through the Core Strategy review? Yes/No; Do you have any further comment to make on this issue?

We support the current conditions.

Question 69 - Should more types of uses be encouraged and more flexibility be allowed to ensure the regeneration and vitality of the Black Country Town Centres? Yes / No; Please explain why.

Some flexibility is desirable provided it leads to a balance of uses and especially improves the quality of the centres.

Question 70 - Do you think there are any specific developments or uses that should be supported in any particular Town Centre? Yes/No; Please provide details.

We have no examples.

Question 71 - Should the Core Strategy set housing targets for the Town Centres? Yes/No; Please explain why.

Yes, the core strategy should seek housing within town centres but these might exceed any targets.

Question 72 - Should more types of uses be encouraged and more flexibility be allowed to ensure the regeneration and vitality of the Black Country District and Local Centres? Yes/No; Please explain why.

This will vary from centre to centre and some flexibility is required. In particular the contraction of the retail area may in some cases create a more viable centre, both by allowing for housing in the centre and other uses which may attract people to the centre, but it must still be able to accommodate sufficient retail needed to perform its function.

Question 73 - Are there are any specific developments or uses that should be supported in any particular District or Local Centre? Yes/No; Please provide details

We have no examples.

Question 74 - In the context of the 'centres first' strategy, should the threshold approach be reviewed to consider the appropriateness, scale and impact of development in and on the edge of Strategic, Town, District and Local Centres? Yes/No; Please explain why.

We support the threshold approach but have no comment on individual levels.

Question 75 - Should thresholds apply to all main town centre uses (Yes) or just retail uses (No)? Please explain why.

There is a case for considering thresholds for some leisure uses where these impact on other centres.

Question 76 - Is the approach set out in Policy CEN6 appropriate in the context of supporting local community needs? Yes/No; Please explain why.

Yes, it remains important to provide local facilities.

Question 77 - Does the wording of the criteria clearly achieve the objectives of the centres strategy? Yes/No; Please explain why.

Yes.

Question 78 - Should the policy clarify that this policy applies both to applications in edge-of-centre and out-of-centre locations, and should this also be referred to in the relevant centres policies? Yes/No; Please explain why.

Yes.

Question 79 - Should the policy set what types of uses this policy applies to and set out any further types of material considerations that could be relevant for the determination of certain proposals, for example, the location or concentration of hot food takeaways, premises selling alcohol or gambling operations? Yes/No; Please explain why.

Yes, this is important as the aim is to provide day to day facilities which support the community.

Question 80 - Should the policy clarify that those schemes of multiple units, where individual units are below the set figure, but the cumulative figure is above, also need to meet the relevant requirements of other centres policies? Yes/No; Please explain why

Yes.

Question 81 - Do you agree that the approach of strong control over out-of-centre development is still appropriate in the context of the strategy to ensure the vitality and viability of the Black Country Centres? Yes/No; Please explain why.

Yes, large out of centre retail is not likely to be sustainable and will not provide access for all parts of the community.

Question 82 - Is 200sqm (gross) an appropriate scale of development above which the impact tests should apply? Yes/No; Please explain why.

We do not have a view on the exact level.

Question 83 - Should Policy CEN7 provide more guidance on accessibility? Yes/No; If yes, please explain why .

Yes, that would be helpful, provided that guidance is to ensure a development is as sustainable as it can be and the guidance is not considered a justification for development in principle.

Question 84 - Do you think that Policy CEN8 is still appropriate for managing car parking in centres and will ensure the network of Black Country Centres are maintained and enhanced over the plan period? Yes/No; Please explain why.

Yes, in general. There is a need to ensure parking serves the whole of centres and to avoid restrictions, for example, of parking to individual supermarkets or leisure facilities which then harms a centre or adds to traffic movements in the centre. We raised concerns when the plan was originally devised that lower parking standards where public transport is poor could encourage developments which were very car dependent in those locations. We remain concerned about this and the review needs to consider the evidence in relations to this and whether parking standards at out of centre locations are tight enough to ensure there is an incentive to encourage use of alternative modes.

Question 85 - Should Policy CEN8, with regards to pricing of car parks, continue to be applied to Strategic Centres to ensure that pricing of parking is not used as a tool of competition? Yes/No; Please explain why.

Yes. And also to ensure car parks serve the whole of the centre and not a single retailer which reduces footfall across the centre and can lead to additional congestion if people park twice. The control of Long Stay car parking, in particular, remains critical to supporting public transport. Short stay car parking should not be so expensive it puts people off visiting a centre.

Question 86 - Do you think that there are other centre uses or centres issues that need to be addressed in the centres policies? Yes/No; Please provide details.

None come to mind.

Question 87 - As shopping, leisure and other commercial trends continue to change, should the revised Core Strategy have a policy to reallocate out-of-centre attractions that are no longer viable for town centre uses for alternative uses such as for employment uses or housing? Yes/No; If no, please explain.

Yes. The Core Strategy needs to consider this as well as anticipating a reduction in store size from major supermarkets and other stores as they refurbish or replenish their estate. In particular where new facilities in a centre reduce the need for out of centre uses alternative uses of those sites may be desirable.

Question 88 - Do you agree that the overall transport strategy supports all of the Core Strategy spatial objectives? Yes/No; Please explain why.

Yes, in general we support the strategic aims. However, we do not believe the ambition is adequate in terms of public transport improvements and support for walking and cycling.

As well as on-road provision for sustainable modes we would support extensions to the network of Green Routes offering links into the countryside (including across into Worcestershire and Staffordshire).

We also believe there is still a case to consider demand management options which will support modal change and also fund public transport improvements. However, without ongoing work on this it is hard to be more prescriptive.

Question 89 - Do you support the proposed changes to the priorities for the development of the transport network? Yes/No; Please explain why.

We generally support the proposals to improve public transport in the sub-region. However, we consider they lack the necessary ambition. In particular we would like to see a rail network developed systematically across the region, including the links centered round Walsall including to Wolverhampton, Sutton Coldfield, Brownhills as well as the through route from Lichfield to Stourbridge. This would require consideration of additional heavy rail lines on the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill section or alternatively Metro extensions along the whole route. We support improvements to the bus network but these need to be integrated with rail. We agree that rail freight should be encouraged but this needs to be at an appropriate level. We are not in favour of the massive Four Ashes Proposal in South Staffordshire.

We are concerned that hard shoulder running is being progressed simply to deal with congestion on motorways with little consideration of the impact of the additional traffic. While this is in many cases preferable to motorway widening we would like to see analysis of the comparative benefits of investing that money in public transport options.

Question 90 - Do you support the proposed changes relating to managing transport impacts of new developments? Yes/No; If no, please explain why

The provision of charging points is welcome. However, this does not address congestion issues so it is important that policies to change behaviour are pursued as well.

Question 91 - Do you support the proposed changes relating to the efficient movement of freight? Yes/No; If no, please explain why.

We support the use of Bescot for a rail freight interchange, taking full account of the impacts on local people. We are not in favour of Four Ashes which we consider is too big. We regret the fact that the proposal is being taken through the NIC process rather than being subject to local scrutiny that would examine how well it fits in with the needs of the Black Country and whether its impact on Green Belt, the environment and local roads is acceptable.

Question 93 - Do you support the proposed changes to Policy TRAN5? Yes/No; Please explain why.
In general terms we support the development of a Key Route Network. The development of new technology is also welcome but should be seen alongside encouraging modal shift.

Question 94 - Do you support the proposed changes relating to environmental infrastructure and place-making? Yes/No; If you think that any other changes should be made to Policies CSP3 or CSP4, please provide details.

We support the emphasis placed on environmental enhancement and place making. However, CSP3 and CSP4 do not sufficiently emphasise the rural character of parts of the Black Country. Even if there is some development in the Green Belt the environmental policies should emphasise the value of this remaining countryside in terms of landscape, amenity, farming, environmental and biodiversity .

Question 95a - Do you think Garden City principles should be applied in the Black Country? Yes/No; If yes, how should they be applied?

We support the Garden City approach in general provided a balance is properly applied between landscape, biodiversity and other aspect of the environment.
Question 95b - Should the application of Garden City principles be different for brownfield and greenfield sites? Yes/No; If yes, please explain why.

In general we would like to see the application of similar approaches to density, character and environmental enhancement. However, this needs to be sensitive to local character and landscape which this may influence how specific sites are developed.

Question 96 - Do you support the proposed changes relating to nature conservation? Yes/No; If no, do you think that any other changes should be made to Policy ENV1?

We welcome the inclusion of ancient woodland.

Question 97 - Do you support the proposed changes relating to Historic Character and Local Distinctiveness? Yes/No; If no, please provide details of any other changes that should be made to Policy ENV2.

We support the need to protect historic assets, including those which are not designated. The review should include an assessment of the effectiveness of the current policy in relation to non-designated assets, for example, the integrity of areas of Victorian terracing. This should be used to review these policies and how they can be enhanced.

Question 98 - Do you support the proposed changes relating to Design Quality?

Yes/No; If you think that any other changes should be made to Policy ENV3 please provide details.

We support high quality design but are not able to comment on the details.

Question 99a - Do you think that national standards for housing development on water consumption should be introduced in the Black Country? Yes/No; If yes, please specify what level and percentage would be appropriate and why.

We support the need to reduce water consumption but are not able to comment on the details.

Question 99b - Do you think that national access standards for housing development should be introduced in the Black Country? Yes/No; If yes, please specify what level and percentage would be appropriate and why.

Yes, there is a need to ensure homes are fully accessible, taking account of local character. This will become more important with an aging population.

Question 99c - Do you think that national space standards for housing development should be introduced in the Black Country? Yes/No; If yes, please specify what level and percentage would be appropriate and why.

Yes, there is a need to ensure homes have adequate space standards, taking account of local character. This will become more important with an aging population.

Question 99d - Do you think that the standards should be different for brownfield and greenfield sites? Yes/No; If yes, please explain how and why.

Not in general, but may depend on local circumstances.

Question 100 - Do you support the removal of the reference made to canal projects? Yes/No; Do you think that any other changes should be made to Policy ENV4?
Please provide details.

No, we do not understand the removal of reference to canal projects. We agree they need to be determined at a local level, but the reference in the core strategy is important because the network is a strategic as well as a local asset. The policy could be up-dated to acknowledge the fine grained nature of such projects and allow flexibility within a broad approach.

The policy should also add that canals act as an important link between town and countryside in the sub-region.

Question 101a - Do you support the proposed changes relating to Flood Risk, Sustainable Drainage and Urban Heat Island effects? Yes/No; Further comments?

Question 101b - Do you think that any other changes should be made to Policy ENV5? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

We are not in a position to comment.

Question 102a - Do you support the proposed changes relating to open space, sport and recreation? Yes/No; If no, please explain

See 102c.

Question 102b - Do you think that Policy ENV6, taken together with national and local policies, provides sufficient protection from development for open space?

Yes/No; If no, please explain

See 102c

Question 102c - Do you think that any other criteria need to be added to Policy ENV6, or any other changes should be made. Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

We support the need for policies to protect and enhance open space across the sub-region. We believe it should be central to the policy for regeneration.

It needs to also be acknowledged that many open space areas on the edge of the conurbation act as links to the surrounding countryside and are often integral with it. Improvements to open space which have countryside benefits (such as the large scale tree planting creating a country park at the Grange in Walsall) should be encouraged as well as promoting planting in gardens and institutional grounds.

It is also important to stress the need to ensure these areas continue to be managed and not allowed to decay.

Question 103a - Do you think that Policy ENV7 should be changed to allow increased energy efficiency standards to be accepted in lieu of renewable energy provision for non-domestic buildings? Yes/No; If not, please explain

We are not in a position to comment.

Question 103b - Do you think that the 10% requirement should be changed?

Yes/No; If yes, please specify what percentage would be more appropriate and to what type of site it should apply.

We are not in a position to comment.

Question 104 - Do you support the proposed changes relating to Air Quality?

Yes/No; If you think that any other changes should be made to Policy ENV8 please provide details.

Improving air quality is critical to the health and well-being of the sub-region. We have no comments on the detail.

Question 105 - Do you think that Policy WM1 identifies all of the key waste issues that need to be addressed in the Core Strategy, in accordance with national policy?

Yes/No; If not, please specify what changes should be made to the Policy.

If you have any evidence that can be referred to in the Waste Study, please provide details.

We support the approach of aiming to reduce waste and deal with waste within the subregion as close to where it arises as is practical. New or extended waste sites should be assessed on their impact on the landscape and countryside.

Question 106a - Do you support the approach set out in Policy WM2? Yes/No; If no, please explain why.
See 105

Question 106b - Are there any strategic waste management sites that no longer need to be protected? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details

Question 106c - Are there any new sites that do need to be protected? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

See 105

Question 107 - Do you think that there are any strategic waste management proposals that should either be removed from or added to the list in Policy WM3?

Yes/No; If so, please provide details.

See 105

Question 108 - Do you agree that Policy WM4 provides an appropriate level of control over the location and design of new waste management facilities? Yes/No;

If no, what changes do you think should be made to the Policy?

See 105

Question 109 - Do you agree that Policy WM5 provides an appropriate level of control over resource management for new developments? Yes/No; If no, what changes do you think should be made to the Policy?

We support the approach of aiming to reduce waste and deal with waste within the subregion as close to where it arises as is practical. New or extended waste sites should be assessed on their impact on the landscape and countryside.

Question 110 - Do you think that Policy MIN1 identifies all of the key minerals issues that need to be addressed in the Core Strategy, in accordance with national policy? Yes/no; If no, what changes should be made to the policy?

We do not have a comment at this stage.

Question 111 - Do you agree with the proposed change to 'prior extraction' requirements, to maintain a size threshold in urban areas and increase the threshold for green belt sites to 3 ha? Yes/No; If no, what evidence do you have to justify an alternative approach?

We have concerns about raising the threshold in Green Belt. Where development occurs in Green Belt it needs to take account of minerals. The policy does not imply mineral extraction will occur only be considered. The policy could be strengthened to take greater account of both the impact on the landscape/environment of extraction and any benefits to be gained.

Question 112a - Are there any key mineral related infrastructure sites that no longer need to be protected? Yes/No; Please provide details

We are not able to comment.

Question 112b - Are there any other sites that do need to be protected? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

We are not able to comment.

Question 114 - Do you have evidence of workable, viable deposits of brick clays outside the areas of search, which could justify defining new areas of search?

Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

We are not able to comment.

Question 115a - Do you have evidence of any realistic possibility of fracking in the Black Country? Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

It seems unlikely that fracking sites would be realistic in the Black Country. Should they exist they would inevitably be in areas of countryside and policies to address them should take account of the impact on landscape and biodiversity as well as the safety and suitability of the access to the site (as defined in NPPF), especially given the reliance on OGVs (the heaviest form of HGVs) to carry equipment and waste water to and from the site. Any policy would need to clearly apply to testing and monitoring as well as production.

Question 115b - Do you think there are particular issues for the Black Country that would justify approaches different from those in national policy?

Yes/No; If yes, please provide details.

See 115a

Question 116 - Do you think that Policy MIN5 identifies all of the key issues that need to be addressed in relation to new mineral developments in the Core Strategy, in accordance with national policy? Yes/No; If not, what changes should be made to the policy?

We do not have a comment.

Question 117 - Do you agree with the proposed approach to updating and amending Appendix 2 and Tables 2 and 3 of the existing Core Strategy? Yes/No; If not, what alternative approach would you suggest

We do not have a comment.

Object

Black Country Core Strategy Issue and Option Report

Representation ID: 2316

Received: 28/08/2017

Respondent: Ms Glenys Deeble

Representation:

The road infrastructure around the town is pretty overstretched as it is so you don't have to think too hard to imagine the impact and devastation on the existing road system. The A456 has been de-trucked and look how busy and congested that already is.

Full text:

Well, here we go again less than two years after last attempt to build on our precious green belt countryside. I objected strongly then as I do now. There are enough brown sites in this Borough to be developed so please use them. Do any councillors actually walk in the countryside surrounding Halesowen to see how many folk walk, cycle, etc in our beautiful countryside? I understand that people need work and accommodation but look at the proposed plans for Halesowen town centre to rejuvenate the centre by utilising old buildings there and conversion into apartments.

The road infrastructure around the town is pretty overstretched as it is so you don't have to think too hard to imagine the impact and devastation on the existing road system. The A456 has been de-trucked and look how busy and congested that already is.

We will just become one sprawling conurbation of Birmingham it it is allowed to happen. Learn lessons from other cities please. Johannesburg in South Africa has now consumed small towns like the former Boksburg which was around twenty miles away. It is now just a suburb of the city.

For this proposed planning to come so soon after the last attempt makes citizens suspicious about the motives perhaps of some councillors who may have a vested interest in such planning going ahead?

Please listen to the comments of your citizens. I have yet to meet one person who is in agreement with the proposals!

Attachments:

Object

Black Country Core Strategy Issue and Option Report

Representation ID: 2320

Received: 19/08/2017

Respondent: Mr Keith H Jeavons

Representation:

West Midland Transport has spent considerable money on New Bus stations but the busses do not reach their destinations any quicker due to the amount of traffic on the roads. It takes longer to get from Worcester to Wolverhampton now than it did in 1870.
There are some bright spots, the services from Stourbridge Junction, perhaps overcrowded at times but good. The downside is on need to be there before 7.30 am if one wishes to be able to park. Just shows what happens when the service is good, but getting to the station is another problem.

Full text:

Views on Strategy
The development of all four areas you illustrate are very important and are interlinked, but good transport is fundamental to the development of the area. The new plans published by Network Rail for the West Midlands on August the 7th are interesting and are welcome, but are concentrated mainly on Birmingham, there is little, if anything for the Black Country. The plans by the West Midlands Transport Authority are in much the same vein. Recent comments by the new Mayor also concentrate mainly the Birmingham area. The latest Rail Franchise does not include any extension of lines and is still a monopoly! The tram to Merry Hill is quoted as the answer to all the problems but this is very doubtful.
West Midland Transport has spent considerable money on New Bus stations but the busses do not reach their destinations any quicker due to the amount of traffic on the roads. It takes longer to get from Worcester to Wolverhampton now than it did in 1870.
There are some bright spots, the services from Stourbridge Junction, perhaps overcrowded at times but good. The downside is on need to be there before 7.30 am if one wishes to be able to park. Just shows what happens when the service is good, but getting to the station is another problem.

The idea of rail-heads, where people would travel to main stations has failed; road traffic has grown so much, feeder lines are essential if people are to move around quickly.
Sandwell and Dudley is likely to lose its London Trains according to proposals of Network Rail as the local passengers clutter up the trains! Trains to the N West, |S West and Wales do not stop there, so it is unlike to become a Transport hub as proposed in the local press.
Dudley Station which was a Railway hub is now a hole in the ground, and the line to Walsall is an excellent example of the development Black Country Urban Forest. The track bed of the line from Stourbridge Junction via Wombourn to Wolverhampton, which could have fed booth Wolverhampton and Stourbridge Junction is now severed by the a very large housing estate in Tansey Green, Pensnett. As more houses are built so will the traffic congestion increase and so will the negative effect on the environment and the air that we breath.


Please do not have a great deal of faith in the projections of Network Rail. One has only to look of the under estimation of the success of the Borders Railway in Scotland. The under estimation of the passenger numbers has caused so many problems. In the country as a whole there are rail developments large and small, but little if any in our area. If we are to cut pollution, traffic numbers, enable people to move freely to get to work and improve the environment there needs to be more imaginative planning and an urgency to get things done.

The West Midland Passenger Authority needs to plan for ALL the West Midlands, not Just Birmingham; as does the Authority led by the New Mayor. So far there seems to little interest in the area of the Black country. Our elected representatives need to seen as leaders not followers.

Attachments:

Object

Black Country Core Strategy Issue and Option Report

Representation ID: 2325

Received: 22/08/2017

Respondent: Ms Margaret James

Representation:

The road infrastructure around Halesowen is currently wholly inadequate. During the rush hour I take longer to get into and out of Halesowen town centre than travelling to North Birmingham. The traffic jams surrounding Mucklow Hill, Manor Way are unacceptable. The efforts to create a better flow of traffic at the island at the Manor way, Grange Road interchange have dramatically failed after several attempts and the thought of creating more traffic to access new housing estates in this area is well beyond reason.

Full text:

I am writing to object to the proposals to build on Halesowen's greenbelt land and I fully support the above campaign.

The road infrastructure around Halesowen is currently wholly inadequate. During the rush hour I take longer to get into and out of Halesowen town centre than travelling to North Birmingham. The traffic jams surrounding Mucklow Hill, Manor Way are unacceptable. The efforts to create a better flow of traffic at the island at the Manor way, Grange Road interchange have dramatically failed after several attempts and the thought of creating more traffic to access new housing estates in this area is well beyond reason.

The social housing which is needed will not work on the greenbelt land as this area will command a premium value that first time buyers will be unable to afford.

Attachments:

Object

Black Country Core Strategy Issue and Option Report

Representation ID: 3198

Received: 14/12/2017

Respondent: CJZ Design Limited

Agent: SLR Consulting

Representation:

SLR does not have any evidence at this stage, albeit the Promotional Document has considered any site specific constraints in determining whether the site is suitable for housing development. As with all large housing developments, pressure will be placed upon existing infrastructure which may require some additional provision.

Full text:

See the attached Issues and Options Report Consultation - Land at Tipton Road and Setton Drive, Woodsetton/Sedgley.

Attachments: