Planners defend sites for new homes

By Ian Dipple Friday 08 February 2013 Updated: 08/02 14:38

PLANNERS have defended suggesting building thousands of new homes in Foxlydiate and Brockhill over the next 20 years but admitted there are no easy options.

Planners have recommended up to 6,380 new homes would need to be built in Redditch by 2030 but there is only space for 3,000 within the borough, with the other 3,400 having to be accommodated in neighbouring Bromsgrove district.

Officers looked at 20 sites around Redditch including land at Beoley, near Astwood Bank, Bordesley, Mappleborough Green and Studley.

It was decided the area around Foxlydiate and land off Weights Lane, backing onto the current Pointers Way development in Brockhill would be most sustainable, lead to improved services for existing and new residents as well as prevent future erosion into the greenbelt.

The Foxlydiate area could accommodate at least 2,800 houses as well as a new first school and shops while a minimum of 600 properties could be built on land off Weights Lane. The overall housing figure is similar to that proposed five years ago in the controversial West Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy which although abolished by the coalition government, the evidence it was based on remains.

But Ruth Bamford, head of planning and regeneration for Redditch and Bromsgrove councils, insisted the growth plan would not lead to a rapid expansion of the borough with average house building expected to continue at the same rate it had since 1986 at about 290 a year.

"This is not a sudden change that loads of houses are suddenly going to come into Redditch or in this case Redditch and Bromsgrove, this is just a continuation of meeting the needs of Redditch growth and if we take a step back from it, if we don't meet the needs of Redditch in Redditch then where do we?"

Planners admit in order to be viable both sites will need significant investment in the road network which would be paid for mainly through contributions from developers.

Mike Dunphy, Bromsgrove council's strategic planning manager, said: "We know there's going to be problems, you can't just put it all in and walk away but we are not in a position yet to do that detailed level of work, that's something which we need to do in tandem with this."

Planners have also explained why building at Bordesley has been ruled out, despite being suggested by consultants during the original RSS process. Mrs Bamford said the consultants' report was found to be flawed by independent planning inspectors and their own analysis showed building at Bordesley was likely to lead to more migration away from Redditch and into Birmingham as well as uncontrollable urban sprawl.

Development was also likely to trigger the need for a bypass which would be difficult to fund.

Mrs Bamford added: " What we are trying to do is create communities where people feel they belong to this town and they shop here and go to school here and spend as much leisure time as possible here."

*RESIDENTS are being urged to have their say on future housing provision in the borough.

Councillors are expected to approve on Tuesday (February 12) putting proposals to build a minimum of 2,800 new homes at Foxlydiate and 600 at Brockhill out to public consultation.

Events are being held in the Kingfisher Shopping Centre on Friday and Saturday, March 8 and 9 between 10am and 5pm, drop-in sessions at the Foxlydiate Arms pub on Tuesday March 12 and Wednesday March 20 between 10am and 8pm and Alvechurch Village Hall between 2pm and 8pm on Monday, March 18.

Views can also be emailed to consultplanning@bromsgroveandredditch.gov.uk or sent to Redditch Borough Council, Development Plans, Town Hall, Walter Stranz Square, Redditch, B98 8AH. Visit www.bromsgroveandredditchplanning.co.uk for more information.

Consultation will run from February 25 to April 8.

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