SOLIHULL: 15,000 home blueprint goes to inspector
A blueprint for building 15,000 new homes on sites across Solihull has taken another major step forward.
The Draft Local Plan has now been handed to the Planning Inspectorate for an independent examination.
This will really be the final test of the council document, which has been taking shape over the past five years.
An inspector will scrutinise the weighty bundle of papers and make any recommendations on changes to the final version.
Once the examination process is complete the final plan will be adopted, with the current timetable predicting it will be in place before the end of the year.
The draft submitted saw a number of minor changes made to the version which was put out to public consultation late last year.
These were mostly to correct errors, clarify wording or to reflect any new announcements in the past few months.
There have been no alterations to the list of 18 sites earmarked for development, with changes of this nature having already been ruled out by the Conservative administration last autumn.
Opposition groups had previously argued, unsuccessfully, for the amended document to come back to Full Council before its submission.
Although the Tories had always insisted that the tweaks would be too minimal to make this necessary.
It had been thought the Local Plan could weigh on last month’s local election results – with the Green Party drawing on local discontent and adding a ‘Save our Green Space’ slogan to ballot papers in Blythe and Meriden.
While these wards are among those which will be most affected by new housing schemes, the Conservatives held both seats they were defending by a comfortable margin.
Although the official opposition maintain that there has been a disjointed approach to the entire process and that a different strategy could have meant more limited losses in the green belt.
Cllr Ian Courts, leader of the council, has brushed off the criticism and argued political rivals were “fooling themselves” if they thought difficult decisions could be avoided.
Words: David Irwin, Local Democracy Reporter
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