The Solihull Local Plan sets out how and where Solihull will develop in the future. It outlines challenges facing Solihull and how they will be addressed, the vision for the future of Solihull, the strategy for achieving the vision, and policies and proposals to enable the Borough to grow and develop into the place we would like it to be. Sites for development are also identified. The Plan has been informed by extensive involvement with a wide range of stakeholders and the community.
The Solihull Local Plan was adopted by the Council on 3rd December 2013.
The Inspector's Report on the examination into the Solihull Local Plan Development Plan Document, published on 21st November 2013, was considered by Full Council on 3rd December 2013. It was resolved to make the modifications recommended by the Inspector (as set out at Appendix 1 of the Inspector's Report) and adopt the Local Plan.
The Local Plan replaces the saved policies of the Solihull Unitary Development Plan and is now the Council's statutory development plan and the starting point in planning decisions. The following documents are now published in accordance with Regulations 26 and 35 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012:
Inspector's Report Appendix 1 - schedule of main modifications required to make the Plan sound.
The Adoption Statement - includes details of where the Local Plan and other relevant documents are available for viewing and details of the challenge period in which anyone aggrieved by the Local Plan can make an application to the High Court.
Sustainability Appraisal Report, January 2012
Sustainability Appraisal Report - non Technical Summary, January 2012
Sustainability Appraisal Addendum Report, August 2012
Sustainability Appraisal Addendum Report, June 2013
High Court Challenge Appeal
The Council’s appeal against the High Court Judgment was heard in the Court of Appeal on 25th November 2014.
The Judges dismissed the Council’s Appeal and ordered that the parts of the Local Plan tabulated in the schedule are remitted to the Council.
Following the High Court Judgment the Council endorsed a Policy Position Statement. This clarifies how the Council will now calculate its five year housing land supply requirement and reiterates the fact that Policy P5 of the Local Plan enables sites allocated in future phases to be brought forward if the housing land supply falls below the requirements in the NPPF to maintain a five year supply of deliverable housing sites.
The Council is positively engaged in the Greater Birmingham & Solihull and Black Country LEP Housing Needs Study and the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP Spatial Plan for Recovery and Growth as a means which will establish an NPPF compliant housing requirement for the Borough.
The Council’s appeal against the High Court Judgment will be heard in the Court of Appeal on 25th and 26th November 2014.
Further information about the Court of Appeal, including directions and contact details, can be found at www.justice.gov.uk.
The Court of Appeal has granted the Council permission to appeal the High Court Judgment against the Solihull Local Plan (May 2014 - see below for further details).
An Order was made on 9th July 2014 by the Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Sullivan. The reasons given for granting permission to appeal in the Court of Appeal are:
“The grounds of appeal have a real prospect of success and there is a compelling reason for this appeal to be heard. Both grounds raise questions as to the proper interpretation of the NPPF which are of wider significance.
- (i) Whether the NPPF, an in particular paragraph 47 thereof, did effect “a radical policy change in respect of housing provision” (paragraph 98 judgment) so as to render the Inspector’s approach to the housing provision in the SLP unlawful
- (ii) Whether the factors identified by the Inspector in paragraph 137 of his Report (paragraph 121 judgment) were not, as a matter of law, capable of constituting “exceptional circumstances” for the purposes of paragraph 83 of the NPPF"
The Order grants permission for an expedited appeal to be heard in the first term after the summer break.
The Plan was subject to a High Court review challenging the Council’s allocation of 2 sites in the Tidbury Green area to the Green Belt. Following the hearing on the 14-15 April 2014 Mr Justice Hickinbottom handed down his judgment on Wednesday 30th April and broadly accepted the case of the claimants. The Judgment has implications for Policy P5 of the Plan which establishes the scale of housing needs and the two sites at Tidbury Green.
Mr Justice Hickinbottom issued his formal order regarding the Solihull Local Plan on 15th May 2014. He has accepted the Council’s arguments that only those parts of the Local Plan, subject to the challenge, should be treated as no longer adopted. The affected parts relate to housing numbers for the plan period. He has ordered that they be sent back to the Planning Inspectorate for re-examination by a different Inspector.
Following the judgment, it is important to stress that most of the Plan remains unaffected and remains the adopted Development Plan for the Borough.
In its submissions to Justice Hickinbottom following the judgment, the Council had sought permission to appeal, but this was refused. The Council will be applying to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal by end of May 2014.
A spokesperson for Solihull Council, said:
"In the meantime, the authority is pleased that the judge followed the Council’s submissions in drafting the order which limits the implications for the Plan to a number of specific components that are set out in a schedule. All other aspects including the specific sites allocated for housing remain adopted.
There are considered to be some national and locally significant principles at stake, but for legal reasons it is not possible to further discuss the Council’s case. However, it is clear that the Council is not alone in being challenged following the introduction, interpretation and implementation of the National Planning Policy Framework.
The claimants had sought for the Council’s key housing policy (Policy P5) to be quashed. The Council successfully argued that only parts of the policy should be impacted, that these need not be quashed but remitted back to the Planning Inspector for re-examination. The main issue at stake is the overall number of houses to be built in Solihull between 2012 and 2028".
The other impact relates to two sites at Tidbury Green, the Council had been trying to put them back into the Green Belt. The judge, however, ruled that there are no exceptional circumstances justifying an alteration to the Green Belt boundary; and that the Inspector was wrong in accepting that the stringent tests for a change in the Green Belt had been met. It is important to stress that this case does not necessarily mean these sites are suitable for development or can now be developed.
The implications of the judgment and order, especially those relating to the overall housing numbers and the need for a five year housing land supply are still being considered by the Council.