By Harriet Ernstsons Tuesday 10 September 2013 Updated: 11/09 10:38
ANGRY campaigners have questioned whether the council has a back-up plan should proposals for future house building not be approved by Government.
Speaking at a Redditch Borough Council meeting where Local Plan Number Four - which sets out where building should take place until 2030 - was approved by councillors, Malcolm Glainger from the Bentley Area Action Group said he was 'astounded' there was no 'plan b' in place.
Residents will now have the right to submit representations if they believe the plan, which would see 3,000 homes built in sites such as Webheath and Winyates Green, is unsound before it is submitted to the planning inspectorate at the end of the year. Bromsgrove councillors will vote on their plan, which would see them meet the requirement for 3,400 homes over the border in Foxlydiate, on September 25.
At the meeting on Monday (September 9), Mr Glainger asked where Redditch proposed to build if it was decided Bromsgrove was not required to release this land.
"If there is nowhere to meet the needs, at some stage we have got to put a sign up that says we are full," he added.
Council leader Bill Hartnett said it was 'unlikely' the Government would make the judgement that no cross-border building was necessary.
"The West Midlands Regional Spacial Strategy inspectors would not have suggested the requirement needed to be met cross boundary if they were not satisfied with the requirement.
"There is no more suitable land within Redditch's urban area. All potential sites have been counted as contributions towards offsetting requirements."
Ruth Bamford, head of planning and regeneration, added: "We have to plan for objectively assessed development. The job of the planning inspectorate is to check we have got the level right and the locations are appropriate.
"If for whatever reason, the locations aren't appropriate and there are no other sites available in Redditch, that is something he or she could consider.
"The situation as I see it is there is a place on the edge of Redditch suitable for development and Bromsgrove is working with us to release that."
Questions were also asked by Webheath Action Group chair David Rose as to whether the plan would be deemed unsound by the inspectorate as it includes Webheath, where a planning application was turned down in May this year.
"We all know that the coalition Government's National Planning Policy Framework clearly gives the green light to build anywhere, unless it is not sustainable.
"Redditch Borough Council has decided on May 22 that the Webheath Area of Developmental Restraint is not sustainable."
He was told the decision on whether Webheath was suitable or not would be answered in the report back from the inspectorate, expected during 2014.
More from the meeting to follow.
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