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Potential housing sites: how you voted

Posted on September 03 2014 at 12:30:43

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On July 18 and 19, people from Alvechurch Parish were invited to open days to comment and vote on some potential housing areas around the village. 114 people attended, writes Mary Green of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group.

The Alvechurch Parish Neighbourhood Plan (APNP) steering group has already sought people’s broad views by questionnaire. This time they chose from five possible areas, which incorporate those sites that Bromsgrove District Council has identified as possible for future development.

The areas are all near the village, with good access to local facilities, reducing environmental harm and decreasing the effect on green belt. 

Each of the five areas (A to E) was displayed with its positive and negative aspects. The steering group explained and answered questions.

People were each given three cards to put in relevant boxes to express their preferences, and also invited to post any comments. The steering group were interested in the comments and discussions as well as the votes.

The results showed an overwhelming preference for area A, bounded by the M42, Birmingham Road, Old Rectory Lane and the river Arrow. This had 52.5% of the votes, in other words more than all the others put together.

Among positive comments were its strong boundaries, logical development of the village, and good pedestrian access to schools, buses and village facilities. There were no negative comments, though two people had concerns about aspects of development.

There was less difference between areas B, C, D and E, getting 7.5%, 15.4%, 14.8% and 9.66% respectively. Area B (either side of Callow Hill) attracted unfavourable comments because of its poor road and pedestrian access.

Area C (the old brickworks) was also seen to have poor access, and there were concerns about contamination. There were wildlife concerns about areas B and C. 

Area D (the back of Station Road and School Lane) was said by some to be the worst option: people disliked the fact that it had no good boundaries and would open development towards Redditch. There were also heritage and wildlife concerns.

Area E (Lye Meadows) was opposed on wildlife, heritage, farming and landscape grounds, as well as difficult access. Neither D nor E attracted any favourable comments.

The results give the APNP steering group a clear snapshot of views from parishioners, which they will use to take the Plan forward.

A draft of the Plan will be prepared, including items on transport, environment, business and local facilities to complement the housing proposals. There will then be another consultation with local people.

Throughout the process, the steering group has to be mindful of the Bromsgrove District Plan, which is currently undergoing some revision as part of the inspection process.

We know that they will expect our parish to take some more housing, probably from 2023. The Neighbourhood Plan will give local people a say in what and where this is.

The steering group want to thank members of the public for the thoughtful and positive approach they took during these open days.

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