Solihull Council has received a letter from the Local Plan Inspectors. This follows communication from the Council in early October, which was in response to a letter from the Inspectors after the hearing sessions in the summer.
The Inspectors have reiterated that the housing capacity proposed at the NEC that the Council can rely on to be delivered during the Plan period should be reduced to 500 homes.
They have also maintained their position on the Knowle Triangle site (KN2), and that it should not be dependent on Arden Academy being relocated within the wider site.
The Council is considering what the Inspectors have said, while taking into account the recent announcements from the Secretary of State regarding potential reforms to the planning system, and the forthcoming National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) prospectus (publication of this for consultation is expected before Christmas). The Council will respond to the Inspectors’ letter in due course.
Councillor Andy Mackiewicz, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Planning & Housing, said:
“We are deeply disappointed that this most recent communication reaffirms the Inspectors’ position on the land supply at the NEC, after all they have said that the development proposals at the NEC are an appropriate and justified element of the Local Plan.
“The issue rests with the scale and rate of development at the NEC that would come forward in the plan period and their belief that it will be less than was set out in the plan. Instead, they are suggesting that the Council allocates a further 1,700+ dwellings in the Green Belt. This is frustrating as it isn’t giving a chance for an appropriate brownfield first approach to succeed.
“As we consider what the Inspectors have said, we are mindful of the recent announcements from the Secretary of State regarding potential reforms to the planning system, and the forthcoming NPPF prospectus.
“These are, of course, potential changes and we will wish to see the detail, including any transitional arrangements, to be able to understand what implications they may have for our Local Plan. This will help to provide some clarity and I await with interest its publication.
“The next steps for the examination of the Local Plan will be based on what is in the best interests of the borough, and protecting the Green Belt is a key objective for this.”