GREENFIELD sites across Bromsgrove district will have to be built on to provide sufficient housing for residents – that was the message from councillors and officers at the launch of the next stage of the local plan.
It comes after an issues and options consultation last year yielded more than 3,500 responses which have been compiled into a document to go before cabinet next Wednesday and the recommendations before full council on September 25.
On September 30 a ‘call for sites’ will begin where landowners will be asked to put forward potential sites for development.
Each one will be assessed and the ones considered the most sustainable will be earmarked in the local plan which will determine what kind of properties can be built and where.
It is anticipated the formulation of the local plan will take close to five years and will outline the district’s aims and aspirations between 2023 and 2040.
According to calculations, using the Government’s designated formula, the number of homes being built will need to be at least 6,443, meaning 379 will have to be constructed each year up until 2040 but it could be more.
The sites’ viability will be determined not only by whether sustainable housing can be built but also by elements such as accessibility and other infrastructure factors, including the road network, public transport, GP surgeries and healthcare provision and school capacity.
Also included in the local plan will be land for employment with the emphasis on cutting travel time for people living in the district.
Currently, 89 per cent of Bromsgrove district is green belt – both greenfield and brownfield sites. But unlike some other areas, said officers, not much of that land was brownfield which is why the ‘rolling back’ of green belt and greenfield land was necessary.
Coun Adam Kent, Bromsgrove District Council’s cabinet member responsible for planning, said the local plan was a ‘live document’ and views of residents, community groups and parish councils would also be welcome.
“The time has come for us to set out the possible strategic direction of this plan, so we can move it on to the next stage.
“While issues such as housing and employment numbers need further work, it is clear that we will have to consider all options to accommodate development needs.
“We also cannot ignore the possibility of accommodating some of the wider housing needs of the West Midlands conurbation.
“A necessary part of this process is to look at all options for possible development so we maintain the look and feel of Bromsgrove District which draws people to live, work and visit here.”
Council Leader Karen May said: “This is a plan for the whole district and all its residents so it’s important to take the feedback on board which will help inform the future direction that the plan takes.”
Decisions made now will play a vital part in officers being able to work up a first draft of the plan and put forward a preferred option in approximately 12 to 18 months time.
The number of homes outlined are for Bromsgrove alone and does not include any ‘duty to co-operate’ with other areas which could materialise in the future.
It is well documented Birmingham needs to build tens of thousands of homes and, because all of Bromsgrove district falls inside the designated West Midlands conurbation, some of those homes could be coming Bromsgrove’s way, along with properties from Redditch borough.