Social Infrastructure

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Black Country Core Strategy Issue and Option Report

Representation ID: 2391

Received: 08/09/2017

Respondent: Mr & Mrs Burton

Agent: CT Planning

Representation Summary:

Q7: Providing Community Facilities to Support Growth
Please see response in relation to Q4: Protecting the Environment.

Full text:

These representations are made on behalf of clients who own land adjacent to the built up area of Aldridge at Barr Common Road as edged red on the attached drawing 4833.99: location plan. The land at Barr Common Road, Aldridge as edged red on drawing 4833.99 is being promoted for release from the Green Belt to accommodate new housing development.
Q1: Meeting Housing Needs
It is agreed that some or all of the extra new homes needed across the Black Country should be built on Green Belt. This does not necessitate the abandonment of the policy of promoting the development of Brownfield land, but the Black Country Core Strategy should recognise the need, in order to maintain a balanced portfolio of housing sites, to release land from the Green Belt.
In the adopted Black Country Joint Core Strategy, Policy HOU2 relates to housing density, type and accessibility. In the supporting text to Joint Core Strategy Policy HOU2 (paragraph 3.12) it states that the Black Country "suffers from a lack of housing choice, which limits its ability to attract more households and Social Groups A and B." The Joint Core Strategy recognises that one quarter of new market housing built in the Black Country is occupied by A and B households who are new to the area or who would otherwise have left. In this context, the Joint Core Strategy states "if the equivalent of national level A and B households in 2033 were to be achieved in the Black Country this would require all new market housing built over the Plan period to be occupied by A and B households". The Joint Core Strategy recognises that factors most likely to attract A and B households are "proximity to professional and managerial jobs" and "the appearance of the surrounding area and schools."
The Joint Core Strategy clearly recognises that throughout the Black Country there is a lack of aspirational housing. This was recognised by an Inspector who dealt with an appeal at Chester Road, Aldridge (APP/V4630/V/08/1202859). The Inspector identified the lack of aspirational houses within Walsall as being of very special circumstance to justify new dwellings in the Green Belt. The Inspector stated (paragraph 78):
"....there is little if any aspirational housing in Walsall and that the type of dwellings proposed would assist with the retention of entrepreneurs within the Borough."
In order to meet the housing requirement of the Black Country in the Plan period and also to address the evidential lack of aspirational houses, it is important to identify housing land to be taken from the Green Belt. This will improve housing choice, including the provision of aspirational housing and it will also ensure prompt delivery of housing.
Such an appropriate site to be released for housing will be land adjacent to 1 Barr Common Road, Aldridge as identified in red on the attached drawing 4833.99. Development of the site will provide for a range of housing in terms of its size, type, design and tenure. The site is not subject to any ecological or heritage constraints. There are no known technical constraints that would preclude the site being brought forward for development. The site is suitable, available and achievable for housing and is deliverable in the Plan period. Consideration should therefore be given to identifying the land at Barr Common Road within a general area to be released from the Green Belt to accommodate new housing.
The land at Barr Common Road is well related in terms of its scale and location to the existing pattern of development including the residential development north of Bosty Lane. The site is located such that it is within easy walking distance of all services and facilities within Aldridge. Barr Common Road in the vicinity of the site is a public transport route. Everyday activities can be undertaken on the site, where there is the need to travel, there is the opportunity to do so by sustainable means.
Q2: Supporting the Economy
As with the provision of housing, it is important that the Joint Core Strategy provides for a choice of employment sites in terms of their size, quality and location. In this context consideration should be given to the allocation of some employment land in the Green Belt to meet a self-evident shortage of premium industrial sites.
Q4: Protecting the Environment
Notwithstanding the fact that developers provide for commuted sums when delivering new parks, sports pitches etc. as part of development, this inevitably places a burden on Local Authorities in terms of the continuous maintenance of such facilities. As part of new development, consideration should also be given to maximising the use of existing parks, sports pitches, nature areas and walking and cycling routes. New development can facilitate the enhancement of existing facilities through financial contributions and improvement of facilities. Consequently the enhanced use of existing facilities should also be a priority.
Q7: Providing Community Facilities to Support Growth
Please see response in relation to Q4: Protecting the Environment.
Q9: Working with Our Neighbours
The situation in terms of housing provision for Birmingham and the shortfall of provision that was identified by Birmingham's Local Plan Inspector, means that it is inevitable that all adjoining Authorities, including the Black Country Authorities, will need to accommodate growth from Birmingham to meet its housing needs. The situation in Birmingham provides a clear indication that the pressure for housing in the Black Country is upwards. It therefore follows that there is a need to ensure that there is an adequate supply of housing land in the Black Country in terms of its style, location and quality to meet the housing requirements of Birmingham. This further reinforces the need for land to be released from the Green Belt in the Black Country to meet the development requirements of not only its area but that of Birmingham as well.
Q10: Regeneration Across the Black Country
The delivery of new homes and jobs in the Black Country could be expedited by an immediate recognition of the fact that there are insufficient sites available for housing of sufficient quality to provide for aspirational housing. Consideration should be given to the immediate release of land from the Green Belt to meet the requirement for aspirational housing (see Q1 above). The delivery of the aspirational housing on Green Belt land will deliver employment not only through the construction process but by ensuring that entrepreneurs and the captains of industry are retained within the Black Country thus maintaining existing employment and attracting new investment. Such a site for aspirational housing could include land adjacent to 1 Barr Common Road, Aldridge as edged red on drawing 4833.99.