The Context of the Local Plan

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Draft Black Country Plan

Representation ID: 23226

Received: 11/10/2021

Respondent: Member of Parliament

Representation Summary:

I note that under the heading 'What does this mean for Walsall?" the following figures are quoted: ­
• Additional Land needed to build additional homes: 13,344
To be provided as follows:­
• Urban areas and Brownfield sites: 7,928
• Green Belt sites: 5,418
However, throughout the proposed Plan there is no information available to explain the rationale for how these figures have been derived. Furthermore, if these figures are extrapolated over a 20 year period they are likely to be over exaggerated, and certainly not reflective of need.
The Office for National Statistics states:­ "The UK population growth rate from mid-2018 to mid-2019 was at 0.5% slower than any year since mid-2004".
In addition it states:­ "migration has continued to be the main driver of UK population growth since the 1990s".
On the basis that there is falling migration and a falling UK population growth rate, the forecast number of homes used for the purpose of the Black Country Plan is over exaggerated and must be revised downwards before moving forward. Furthermore it takes no account of the impact on business or housing needs as we emerge from the Coronavirus pandemic.
Yet for the purpose of the Black Country Plan there is an inbuilt assumption that these figures are accurate, thus locking communities across my Aldridge-Brownhills constituency into a plan that is fundamentally unfair and which at its heart devastates several of our most valuable Green Belt sites and our natural environment, at a time when the focus should be on building back better, greener and more sustainably. A key way to achieve this is to develop on brownfield sites first, of which we have many across the West Midlands, and focus as a priority on our town and urban/district centres.