Council endorse developer’s revised masterplan for Northfield golf course housing – but still opposes development

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Council planners have today endorsed revisions to a developer’s masterplan for a housing development on a Northfield golf club site (Thursday 5th July). 

Still opposed

However, this does not mean that the development will get the go ahead, as the city still plans to oppose any housing development on the land, in accordance with the Birmingham Development Plan.

Appeal

Bloor Homes have already lodged an appeal with central government, hoping to overturn Birmingham City Council’s decision to reject their plans to build 950 homes on the site of the former North Worcestershire Golf Club in Hanging Lane.

However, ahead of the Planning Inspectorate Inquiry in October, the developer has now submitted a revised plan with a reduced number of homes to address some of the original reasons for the refusal.

Reasons for refusal

The committee refused the original application in August 2017 for two key reasons:

  1. 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.
  2. 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”

Many residents had cited the affect on the local road network – both during construction and after – as a concern. However, this was not given as a reason for refusal by the council.

Amendments

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.

Principle accepted

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.”

Consultation

Representatives of Bloor Homes have so far not returned a response to requests for information on if, how and when they will be consulting with the public on the revised plan.

The Planning Inspectorate are no longer taking public comments but we understand that Bloor Homes’ property consultants will be writing to 900 residents and previous commenters, asking for further comments which will be forwarded to both the council and the Planning Inspectorate.

Inquiry

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.

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1 COMMENT

  1. This is the same council that allowed St. Modwen to build high density housing near to Cofton Park without any balance between development and open space. Obviously this development is not an earner for Birmingham City Council.

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