SOLIHULL Council is going back to the drawing board – in part – to shape the future of development across the borough.
It is conducting a review of the Solihull Local Plan, which was adopted in 2013 and sets out the blueprint for social, economic and housing needs change up until 2028.
Councils are legally obliged to review their Local Plans every five years.
But the possibility of stationing 1,900 homes at the new HS2 Interchange site adjacent to the M42 and NEC, along with further new proposed investments and changes across the region, have stirred Solihull Council into action early to ensure the borough is getting the very best deal.
The hot topic of the conversation for the review is, as always, the need for housing and where it will go.
And the people and communities of the borough are being urged to have their say.
The borough needs to build 13,500 new homes by 2033.
This figure already includes those allocated in the 2013 Solihull Local Plan, which will not be changed.
But the Council still wants to find more sites, review its existing sites and to include the almost 2,000 HS2 Interchange homes in its long-term plans.
Councillor Ian Courts, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Managed Growth, said: “It is vital that councils have an up-to-date local plan in place.
“We can only make sure Solihull remains the Solihull we love through having a robust local plan in place.
“It will ensure that future development meets the needs of our communities, businesses and investors and respects the environment and area in which we live.
“The recent legal challenge, the imminent arrival of HS2 and our UK Central Growth Strategy mean that we need to review our local plan to make sure it is fit for purpose.
“This is your chance to help shape the future of the borough.”
One of the more controversial aspects of the review is the borough’s need to help fulfill some of Birmingham’s ‘overspill’ housing needs which cannot be met by the city.
There are no confirmed numbers or proposed locations, but the overspill will need to be absorbed by the region as a whole – not just Solihull.
The Council has now issued a ‘Call for Sites’ to urge landowners to come forward and is also planning to embark on extended discussions with communities, parish councils and the newly-formed neighbourhood forums.
It is also urging all residents to get involved in the review by taking part in the consultation which runs until January 22.
The consultation document can be viewed on the Council’s website, at all of the libraries in Solihull or at its ‘Connect’ walk-in centres.
“I very much have in my mind the long-term future of the borough, protecting its Greenbelt and the Meriden Gap for all our future generations,” added Coun Courts.