A REVIEW of Solihull Council’s five-year plan is being ‘reset amid unprecedented times’, according to one council official.
Sarah Barnes, the council’s head of improvement, wrote in a report to the council’s resources scrutiny board that a plan agreed in 2018 was seeing ‘profound implications’ from the coronavirus pandemic.
She stated: “The 2020-25 plan is being reset in unprecedented times in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, which will have profound implications for every part of the plan. “Our response, supporting those who are most vulnerable to the impacts of Covid-19, will evolve over time but will continue for years to come.”
Following its backing by councillors in 2018, the plan was intended to inform the borough’s decision making in areas like transport, housing and procurement.
But as Solihull Council grapples with supporting residents suffering from the coronavirus pandemic, Ms Barnes said ‘recovery from the impacts of Covid-19 will be a watermark running through the new plan.’
Council leaders have previously backed calls by West Midlands mayor Andy Street to bring forward HS2 infrastructure work.
It is hoped the building of UK Central will help retain construction jobs in Solihull.
Other projects set to be sped up include the redevelopment of Kingshurst village centre, and the shopping centre regeneration in Chelmsley Wood.
The plan also suggests the council want to see the house building process accelerated, to ‘bring forward housing supply’ and Increase the supply of social rented and shared ownership working with Solihull Community Housing to build new homes.
Despite the impacts of coronavirus on public health, the council’s plan also sets targets for ‘improved health outcomes’ as it looks to reduce health inequalities.
Ms Barnes added: “We recognise that Covid-19 recovery is not going to be a straightforward or linear process and that how we do things will have to be flexible and
evolve further over the next two years as circumstances change.”