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Friday April 20 2018

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In Full . . .

MP should support own community

Posted on March 29 2018 at 11:03:04

Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government is the momentous title bestowed on Sajid Javid, our Member of Parliament.

“For Housing and for Communities”, it says; to me that sounds contradictory, as whatever new housing has come along of late needed infrastructure to keep it sustainable – this has been and probably will continue to be a long-forgotten element.

Having worked on the Neighbourhood Plan for Alvechurch Parish over the past five years and seeing it near the finishing post, this “housing crisis” becomes even more worrying – especially now, on reading through the recent Strategic Growth study into the Greater Birmingham and Black Country Housing Market Area, February 2018.

Not only is Alvechurch to accept some of our own district housing numbers, but it looks likely that we will have to accept some of Birmingham’s as well.

This growth study considers areas to support Birmingham’s unmet housing numbers to 2036, of which the number of 60,900 is stated.

This large conurbation shortfall study indicates which bordering local authorities (Bromsgrove being one) are expected to support some of those unmet numbers.

There are 24 broad locations indicated in total, with 11 identified for further analysis that includes the possibility of some new settlements being created.

Each new settlement is earmarked for between 10,000 to 15,000 houses to be built on the Green Belt.

Surprise, surprise! Alvechurch and Barnt Green are indicated as being joined to form one of these new settlements.

Yes, if this study were to come to fruition, “Barnt-church” would arise from the Green Belt like a phoenix (topping any story on The Archers).

“For Communities”. . . well, how about in your own constituency? Let’s have some backing from the Government, who say in the National Planning Policy Framework that they will “robustly protect the Green Belt”.

Sajid said in his speech in November: “We’re giving the industry the support that it needs, and I expect the industry to respond by getting shovels in the ground.

That’s why the white paper also set out plans to increase transparency and accountability, so everyone can see if a developer is dragging its feet. . .

”Now, I’ve been very clear about the need for an end to unjustifiable land banking . . . But the sector should remember that it’s not just Government that wants to see this happen…

“It’s a time of national shortage, and in this kind of time British people will not look kindly on anyone who hoards land and speculates on its value, rather than freeing it up for the homes our children and grandchildren need”.

Really? Come on, then. In a recent analysis of Brownfield Land Registers, carried out by the Campaign to Protect Rural England, it has been discovered that there is enough space on brownfield sites to build at least one million new homes.

Due to the nature of brownfield sites, many of these potential sites are in areas with high housing needs. The analysis suggests that up to two-thirds of these homes are deliverable within the next five years.

So come on, Sajid. . . let’s see some support in a statement for your own “Community” by preserving our two historic villages, both with Conservation Areas and Sites of Special Scientific Interests, by ensuring that needed housing is actually built, along with its accompanying infrastructure, on brownfield sites which have been pocketed for far too long by greedy developers.

Adrian Smith,
Chair, Alvechurch Parish Neighbourhood Plan


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