An amended masterplan for a housing development on the site of a former golf course in Northfield is now available to view online, with a final chance to put your views to developers.
The controversial plans from Bloor Homes to develop the site are currently being considered by central government planning inspectors, after being refused by Birmingham City Council planning committee last year.
The committee refused the original application – originally for 950 homes – in August 2017 for two key reasons:
- The site was looked at and was ruled out for housing development in January 2017, when the government’s chief planning officer accepted the Birmingham Development Plan.
- Concerns remain about ecology, trees & landscaping. The refusal report stated that the development failed 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”
Bloor’s new masterplan addresses some of the concerns raised in the second reason for refusal, chiefly:
- Reduction in the area of developed land – from 60% of the entire site in the original plan, down to 55.3% in the revised plan
- Reduction in dwellings from 950 to 800
- Density of development reduced from 49 dwellings per hectare to 45
- The width of the wildlife corridor on the eastern side of the site has been increased by up to 6 times.
- Frontage set back from Frankley Beeches Road, with mature and new vegetation to front onto the road itself.
Following the amendments and considering responses from a design expert, an ecologist and an arborist, in his report to planning committee, BCC Planning Officer Ben Plenty advised that the Local Planning Authority will no longer defend against the development on the grounds of concerns regarding ecology, trees & landscaping.
City still opposes development
His report made it clear, though, that the city will still oppose the overall principle due to development being ruled out in the Birmingham Development Plan, saying: “However, and for the avoidance of doubt, the Local Planning Authority will continue to defend reason 1 (the principle of development) at the forthcoming Inquiry.”
Planning committee endorsed Mr Plenty’s report on Thursday 5th July.
Northfield MP Richard Burden (Labour) said: “Along with Councillor Olly Armstrong, I will be speaking to the Council to discuss their response and any implications of the latest turn of events may have for the Public Inquiry which the Planning Inspector will hold in October. As always, we are keen to hear from residents and we are looking to convene a community forum to discuss the issue.”
The Planning Inspectorate are no longer taking public comments but Bloor Homes’ property consultants have to around 900 residents and previous commenters, asking for further comments which will be forwarded to both the council and the Planning Inspectorate.
A spokesperson for Bloor Homes confirmed that an updated masterplan has been submitted as part of the planning appeal process, reducing the number of dwellings to 800 and significantly increasing the amount of public open space within the development.
The spokesperson said: “Whilst the revised masterplan has been considered by Birmingham City Planning Committee, Bloor Homes have already launched a three week public consultation period, writing to local residents and other parties who have previously commented on the application, however further comments can be posted by any interested party via the sites website.”
Interested parties can now view the plan online and are asked to submit any comments to: Olivia.Morris@harrislamb.com by 23rd July 2018.
The Planning Inspectorate’s Inquiry into Bloor Homes’ appeal will be held in Birmingham in October and is expected to last for around 10 days.