The Campaign to Protect Rural England calls on Councillors to save Solihull’s Green belt - The Solihull Observer

The Campaign to Protect Rural England calls on Councillors to save Solihull’s Green belt

Solihull Editorial 8th Jan, 2024   0

THE Campaign to Protect Rural England has called on Solihull Council to change their local plan, after the national planning policy changed.

The changes to the planning policy allow the Green Belt in Solihull to be saved from development.

Under its Local Plan Review, Solihull Council is proposing to ‘meet in full assessed housing need’.

To do this the Plan proposes to take 340 hectares, over 800 acres, out of the Green Belt and allow 5,000 houses to be built on what is now Green Belt.

On December 19 2023 Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities issued a formal set of changes to planning policy.

During this time Solihull has ‘paused’ its Local Plan to await the changes in planning policy.

Calculated housing requirements can no longer override preserving the Green Belt and Councils can use a lower number where their areas are subject to environmental and planning constraints, most notably Green Belt.

In their introduction to the Draft Local Plan three years ago leader of the council, Coun Ian Courts said: “The clear message from Government is that we must significantly boost the supply of homes for all our communities.

“We cannot keep escaping the issue; and, to maintain control of our destiny and deliver a net zero carbon future we have to deliver this plan.

“We share the sadness of the loss of Green Belt land but we have no option.

“Unfortunately, brownfield land alone won’t provide the solution and, reluctantly, we must release some Green Belt land.”

Solihull Council can decide to provide for a lower number of houses in the Plan because of the constraint on development that the Green Belt imposes.

Mark Sullivan from Campaign to Protect Rural England said: “Despite holding the Local Plan in suspension to await these changes, Solihull Council has agreed that developers who wish to develop several housing allocations on land which is still Green Belt can submit planning applications for these sites and discuss them with officers.

“That is highly regrettable, it indicates intention to proceed with the Plan as now published, despite the serious loss of Green Belt which adopting the Plan unaltered would cause.

“What the Council can and should now do is to apply Michael Gove’s policy changes and delete the Green Belt housing sites from the Local Plan, and then proceed to adopt the Plan with a lower housing requirement and the Green Belt boundaries unchanged.”


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