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Local Plan Review FAQs

All Local Planning Authorities (Unitary Authorities and District Councils) are required by Government to prepare a Local Plan that describes how the necessary development over the next 20 years or so will be handled and where it will be located. The anticipated growth is derived from Government’s Population and Housing projections.

The Local Plan also considers the amount of employment development required to support any anticipated housing growth and how much extra retail, office and leisure development is needed. Similarly the local plan considers whether any additional supporting infrastructure (eg roads, education, utilities and health provision) is required.

The Government requires Local Authorities to have Local Plans that are based on up to date evidence.  If a Local Plan is not up to date it will have less weight at Planning Appeals and will mean that the Council is less able to control new development and ensure only that which is appropriate and sustainable takes place. This helps the Council to turn down development proposed by land owners and developers where the Council considers the proposal inappropriate.

The Government requires Local Authorities to have Local Plans that are based on up to date evidence.  If a Local Plan is not up to date it will have less weight at Planning Appeals and will mean that the Council is less able to control new development and ensure only that which is appropriate and sustainable takes place. This helps the Council to turn down development proposed by land owners and developers where the Council considers the proposal inappropriate.

To be acceptable development must be sustainable. Therefore most new development proposed will be directed into and adjacent to the larger population centres of Kidderminster and Stourport-on- Severn and, to a lesser extent, Bewdley where there is already established infrastructure and services. In doing so it will be necessary to utilise some greenfield land and to review the Green Belt boundary. In the more rural areas, particularly to the west of the River Severn, some minor development is proposed so that local housing needs are met.

 

 

The precise locations being proposed for development are detailed in the Preferred Options document.

The Preferred Options document summarises work undertaken by officers to date on housing and employment need and identifies a potential portfolio of sites to meet it. In doing this it shows how the plan has progressed since the Issues and Options Paper published in 2015 and allows both the public and other interested parties to express their views.

Until recently the District’s entire land requirement for new development was able to be met through the re-use of brownfield land (also known as previously developed land). However, much of this has already been developed it is now no longer possible to accommodate all of the necessary development on brownfield land. Therefore the District Council now has to consider what greenfield land should be put forward for development.

Greenfield land is simply land that has not been developed before. This land has no statutory protection in its own right unless it is subjected to some form of protective designation (e.g. a Site of Special Scientific Interest, Green Belt, etc).

Green Belt is a statutory designation introduced in the second half of the 20th Century designed to stop the “creep” of development and merging of settlements. Effectively east of the River Severn in Wyre Forest currently has this protection.

The only way that a Green Belt’s boundaries can be reviewed by a local authority is through a Local Plan Review such as is being currently conducted. This can only be done in “exceptional circumstances”.

Exceptional circumstances are believed to apply in Wyre Forest due to the fact that there is not now sufficient sustainably located available land to accommodate the required level of development.

Wyre Forest forms a relatively self contained Housing Market Area; as such the Council is currently planning to only accommodate needs for its own population.

The technical work based on the Government’s Population and Housing Projections adjusted to take account of recent economic forecasts indicates that a housing requirement of 5,400 dwellings will be required. This equates to an annual average of 300 dwellings per year. Of this annual provision of 300 dwellings per year it is anticipated that 90-100 will be affordable dwellings (as defined by the Government). 

On top of this there is a requirement for 540 “C2 Institutional” dwellings (e.g. care homes) through to 2034.

Wyre Forest District Council is very keen to ensure that these extra dwellings will not simply result in extra unsustainable commuting. There will therefore be over 40 hectares of employment land allocated in accessible and sustainable locations to not only attract inward investment to the area but to also give local companies the space to grow.

Integral to the development of the Proposed Options has been a detailed and rigorous assessment of the necessary infrastructure (eg roads) and services (eg education and health provision and utilities such as water and sewerage). This work is reflected in the Infrastructure Delivery Plan which accompanies the Preferred Options and will inform the Council’s consideration and discussions in connection with proposed development.

The Council is proposing two Options which are detailed fully in the Preferred Options document – Option A and Option B with the proposed sites falling into three categories:

  • Core sites – these sites are included in both Option A and B. This comprises a selection of sites throughout the District and include a wide variety of types of sites from large brownfield sites carried over from the current plan to small sites in villages intended to meet their local needs along with some Green Belt sites released via an adjustment to the Green Belt Boundary. Included in this is the Lea Castle Hospital site and a Sustainable Urban Extension to the east of Kidderminster between the Birmingham and Bromsgrove Roads;
  • Option A – is a strategy of concentration of development. The main element of this is a continuation of the East of Kidderminster Sustainable Urban Extension to the Worcester Road. There are key benefits to this approach including the ability to provide an Eastern Relief Road for Kidderminster;
  • Option B – is a strategy of dispersal. This alternative approach spreads the development round more with, in particular a larger amount of development taking place in Stourport to the west of the River Severn. This approach does not give the necessary “critical mass” of development to permit the consideration of a Kidderminster eastern Relief Road.

The Council welcomes all contributions to this process and the current Preferred Options consultation is a key stage for all interested parties, including members of the public and local businesses, to get involved and to send us your comments. All of these comments will all be acknowledged and considered by the Council.

There are a number of roadshows being conducted. These are detailed below:

 

Date

Time

Venue

Monday 10th July 2017

3:45pm - 8:00pm

Heronswood Primary School, Spennells, Kidderminster

Wednesday 19th July 2017

2:00pm - 7:00pm

The Wyre Room, St George's Hall, Load Street, Bewdley

Friday 21st July 2017

1:00pm - 5:30pm

Rowland Hill Centre, Kidderminster

Saturday 22nd July 2017

10:00am - 4:00pm

Offmore Evangelical Church Hall, Kidderminster

Wednesday 26th   July 2017

1:30pm - 6:30pm

Areley Kings Village Hall, Stourport

Friday 28th   July 2017

2:00pm - 7:00pm

Cookley Village Hall

Saturday 29th   July 2017

10:00am - 4:00pm

Stourport Civic Hall

Friday 4th August 2017   

2:00pm - 7:00pm

St Oswalds Church Centre, Broadwaters Drive, Kidderminster

 

You can make your comments online via  http://wyreforestdc-consult.limehouse.co.uk/portal/, via email to LPR@wyreforestdc.gov.uk   or via post to Planning Policy Team, Wyre Forest District Council, Wyre Forest House, Finepoint Way, Kidderminster, DY11 7WF.

The eight week consultation period runs from Thursday 15 June to 5.00pm Monday 14 August 2017. Please note that responses received late will not be considered.

 

 

Come and talk to us!

Next drop in session:

Monday 10 July
3:45pm - 8:00pm
Heronswood Primary School

Upcoming drop in sessions.

 


Wyre Forest District Council