‘WE MUST adhere to the Local Development Plan’.
That was the call from Councillor Linda Brown just before borough planning chiefs made their decision to refuse proposals to build nearly 600 houses in the Dickens Heath area.
Developments at Braggs Farm, Mount Dairy Farm and land at Dickens Heath Road were put to the planning committee just weeks after Solihull’s Local Development Plan (LDP), which shapes development of the borough to 2023, was agreed.
The LDP is split into three phases – Phase 1 for immediate development, Phase 2 that can begin in 2018 and Phase 3 which can begin in 2023.
The land in question for the controversial applications considered at Wednesday’s (January 29) meeting had been allocated to phase two and three of the LDP – and committee members had to choose whether to stick to the plan.
Residents applauded the Councillors for making their tough decision after a war of words broke out between Councillors, residents and the developers.
Campaigners told the committee about their fears of flash-flooding and schools and medical facilities in the villages being unable cope if the plans were given the go-ahead at Braggs Farm, Mount Dairy Farm and land at Dickens Heath Road.
However the applicants, David Wilson, Bloor Homes and Catesby Estates Ltd, tried to convince Councillors they could allay these fears with Section 106 agreements, offering to pick up the bill for traffic calming measures, fund youth facilities and a drainage system to prevent flooding.
Speaking at the meeting committee member Coun Robert Hulland said Solihull had only just approved its local plan after a lot of thought and heartache and now they have to apply it.
He added: “We do need more homes but we also need a plan and we need to stick by it.
“These applications are permanent and cannot be adapted once they have been built, but the plan can be adapted to the needs of the people over the years and that is why phasing is important here.
“I would like to commend the developers for all the work they have done and I look forward to seeing them in 2018 when the land has been opened for development.”
Also up for discussion was an application from Lioncourt Homes to build 190 homes at Tidbury Green Farm – land which has been returned to the Greenbelt.
The planning committee refused the application – to the delight of Blythe Ward Coun Ken Hawkins.
He said: “If these houses were built residents would have to rely on facilities further away than Tidbury Green and the schools would also be under more pressure to take on more pupils.”
Approval for 106 homes to be built on the former Bishop Wilson School was given by Solihull planning chiefs. 06.014.025.sol.nc