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Friday December 06 2019

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In Full . . .

The journey to Barntchurch?

Posted on November 29 2019 at 2:04:56

Your article “Green Belt roll-back” (October 2019) highlights a concern that the new Bromsgrove District Council (BDC) Plan Review is keeping the GL Hearn study (a desktop study by London consultants) as an option, which is a “garden town-like settlement” of 10-15,000 homes – locally dubbed “Barntchurch” – between Alvechurch and Barnt Green.

It’s even more worrying that council leader Karen May wants to take us with her on “their” sustainable journey! I’m not at all sure we have the same idea of what’s sustainable.

The Head of Planning states that BDC is required to “build about 7,000 new homes before 2040 as well as taking Birmingham “overspill” which the strategic housing manager says “equates to 379 new homes per year” and market trends say this can only go up, not down.

These figures are brought about by the biggest change in the 2018 National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which has been a new methodology to determine the number of homes that should be delivered through what is known as the standard method for assessing local housing need.

All very well, you may say, however for the same period in Redditch, the new methodology gives an annual basic housing need of 181 homes per annum, far lower than the 337 homes (6,400 homes to be delivered over 19 years) currently being planned for.

Surely someone needs to question the need for sites in Bromsgrove District to be used to meet Redditch’s unmet need, if Redditch Borough’s overall housing need has fallen from that previously determined and used for plan-making purposes.

Consequently the plan to build up to 2,560 homes by Redditch on the site at Foxlydiate should really be used to address the Bromsgrove housing numbers requirement, not to address a now much-revised Redditch shortfall as indicated by the housing need methodology published in the 2018 NPPF.

Something doesn’t quite sound right to me and I’m not signing up for the leader of BDC’s magical mystery journey.

Adrian Smith, Hopwood


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