Birmingham City Council’s planning committee is set to decide on two significant planning applications in Longbridge ward tomorrow (Thursday 31st August). The committee will discuss applications for a housing development on the site of the North Worcestershire Golf Course in Northfield and a cinema, gym and restaurant complex for Longbridge town centre.
North Worcestershire Golf Club
The committee will discuss plans for a 950 home development on the site of the former North Worcestershire Gold Course in Hanging Lane. (View all related application documents)
A former application for up to 1000 homes was withdrawn at the eleventh hour in March, just 2 days before it was due to be decided upon by the committee.
City Planning Officer Ben Plenty at that time had recommended the plans be refused on several grounds, and developers Bloor Homes have not managed to change his mind with their revised plans.
Issues around ecology of the site, increased traffic in the surrounding area, insufficient infrastructure have been raised during the consultation period.
Mr Plenty has again recommended that the committee refuse the application for two key reasons:
- The site was ruled out for housing development in January this year when the government’s chief planning officer accepted the Birmingham Development Plan. In his recommendations, Mr Plenty says: “The application site was specifically not allocated for new housing in the recently- adopted local plan. The principle of development is unacceptable and the material considerations have failed to indicate otherwise. As such, the proposed housing represents unsustainable development and is contrary to Section 38 (6) of the Planning and Compensation Act (2004), Policy PG1 of the BDP and provisions of the NPPF (Paragraphs 2, 14-17, 47-49).”
- Concerns remain about ecology & landscaping. Mr Plenty recommends: “The Master Plan fails to pay sufficient regard to the identified site constraints of ecology, trees and important landscape features or the local context. As such the Master Plan, and proposed development zones, fail to properly provide a suitable balance between development areas and open space, and fail to properly consider connectivity, context (especially in regard to density) and internal layout. The Master Plan is therefore flawed and contrary to Policy PG3, TP6 and TP8 of the BDP, paragraph 3.14 to 3.14D of the (saved) UDP and contrary to fundamental design considerations as set out in paragraph 56 of the NPPF.”
During consultation, Birmingham City Council received 136 letters of objection, 6 letters of support and a petition containing 546 signatures, which was submitted in response to the original planning application. Objections have been submitted by Richard Burden MP, Cllr Randal Brew (Con, Northfield), Cllr Andy Cartwright (Lab, Longbridge) and Cllr Ian Cruise (Independent, Longbridge)
Cinema, gym and restaurant for Longbridge
Longbridge developers St Modwen are seeking planning permission for a new leisure complex at the heart of the new ‘town centre’. (View all related application documents)
Developers hope that Phase 3 of the regeneration of the former car factory site will bring a cinema, gym and restaurants to Longbridge.
The proposed leisure development would occupy land adjacent to Smyths Toys store and would create around 140 jobs once completed.
Four letters of support (including from Longbridge Labour Councillor Andy Cartwright), 10 letters of comment and 38 letters of objection have been received by Birmingham City Council.
One of the main concerns raised has been whether there is a need for another cinema and gym, in particular because of the existing provision at nearby Great Park. However, St Modwen have responded, telling planning inspectors that: “Policy encourages economic growth, and competition, but specifically within a “centres first” framework. It directs these uses towards centres like Longbridge to promote their vitality and viability, as sustainable and accessible places meeting a range of needs. This proposal is a relatively uncommon example of major investment proposed within a centre, pushing back at out of centre competition, and should be supported.”
Planning officers have recommended that the committee accept the planning proposal.
You can watch the planning committee meeting LIVE from 11am tomorrow (Thursday 31st August)