At Solihull Council's Cabinet session last night, approval was secured to progress delivery of the former Simon Digby School site. Consent was granted to move forward with a number of project objectives, including commencing public consultation later this summer.
Located east of Chester Road (A452) in Chelmsley Wood, the site was allocated for development in the 2013 Solihull Local Plan. Approximately 4.5 ha in size, the plot has the potential to provide up to 200 new homes, a significant proportion of which will be affordable in line with local planning policy. The site’s location is highly connected with Chelmsley Wood Town Centre and the future HS2 Interchange Station in close proximity. The proposed development forms part of the Council’s UK Central programme, which supports sustainable and inclusive growth across the borough.
The site’s allocation has been brought forward into the emerging Local Plan, which is currently in the examination phase. One of the borough’s key challenges is to meet housing needs without adversely affecting the quality of the environment and its attractiveness for residents. In particular, this includes the shortage of affordable housing, which the development will take into account.
Plans for the site are gaining momentum, with approval obtained last night to prepare and submit an Outline Planning Application later this year, which includes pre-application consultation with the public. In addition, the project now has approval for submission of an Outline Business Case to the West Midlands Combined Authority later this summer. The Council will also be seeking to start marketing the site within the near future.
Councillor Courts, Leader of Solihull Council, said:
“Providing new homes in Solihull is vital for the continued growth and success of the borough. The former Simon Digby School site is in an extremely well connected location with the HS2 Interchange Station just around the corner. From there new residents will be able to reach London Euston in just 38 minutes.
“It’s not just about creating more homes, it’s about creating new areas which are pleasant places to live, have a real community feel and a distinct sense of place. This development will aspire to achieve exactly that. New homes fronting onto tree-lined streets, as well as footpaths connecting residents with the Cole Valley landscape have been incorporated into the initial concept design. On top of that, the construction phase will also provide valuable employment and training opportunities and Social Value objectives will be embedded into the scheme.”
Councillor Andy Mackiewicz, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Planning and Housing, said:
“It’s great to see plans for the Simon Digby housing site being moved forward at pace, delivering on our promise to provide more quality homes in Solihull. Right from the start, integrating sustainable principles into the design has been one of our key priorities. With that in mind, the scheme will deliver biodiversity net gain, leaving biodiversity in a better state than before, and will be policy compliant in reducing carbon emissions.
“Going further still, the Concept Masterplan demonstrates how the landscape of the site could include improved wildlife areas, a new play area and a natural play trail. With flood mitigation in mind, the plan also indicates how surface water could be collected in sunken landscape areas, which in turn create a wetland habitat for aquatic life to thrive.
“Ahead of the Outline Planning Application we’re looking forward to consulting with the public to understand their views on the proposals.”
More details will be announced soon on the format and dates of the consultation.