A Public Inquiry will begin in Birmingham tomorrow (Tuesday 2nd October) as developers appeal to a government planning inspector to overturn Birmingham City Council’s decision not to allow a major housing development on a former golf course in Northfield.
Housing development plans refused
Following years of speculation, rumours, consultations, withdrawn proposals and petitions, BCC’s planning committee decided to turn down Bloor Homes’ controversial plans to build 950 homes on the land belonging to the former North Worcestershire Golf Club (NWGC) on Hanging Lane in August 2017.
The main reasons cited for refusal were:
- The site 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 & landscaping.
In January, Birmingham City Council approved an application to demolish the former club house.
Appeal and amendments
In February this year, Bloor appealed to the government’s Planning Inspectorate to overturn the council’s decision.
This summer, Bloor amended their plans to reduce the number of houses to 800, reducing the developed area and density, improving wildlife corridors and setting frontage back from Frankley Beeches Road.
Birmingham City Council accepted theses amendments on principle. However, city planners expressed that the application would still be refused on the grounds that the development of the golf course land was ruled out by a government inspector when approving the Birmingham Development Plan.
Ahead of the Inquiry, Cllr Olly Armstrong (Northfield, Labour) said: “We’ve held a number of community meetings to plan how to go in to the Bloor appeal.
“We as residents will be represented every day and I hope the inspectorate choose to listen to us, and uphold Birmingham City Council’s decision to say No To Bloor!”
Richard Burden MP (Northfield, Labour) said: “Sometimes, Planning Inquiries can appear to be dry affairs dominated by technical arguments between lawyers. It is important that this week’s Inquiry into the future of The North Worcestershire Golf Course site is more than that.
“There has long been widespread concern amongst residents living in the area about Bloor Homes’ plans to redevelop the site. I also have real concerns that Bloor’s plans are not sustainable.”
Mr Burden said that, with roads around the site already congested, he felt the extra traffic generated by a large development would not be manageable. He said he would also ask that the Inquiry carefully consider whether there would be an increased flood risk.
He said: “Whichever way the appeal goes, though, I hope the Planning Inspector will also recognise that local residents should have a say in shaping the future of their area. So far, that has not happened as it should in relation to the NWGC site and I hope there is a clear recommendation that this must change from now on. It is something that both Northfield Councillor, Olly Armstrong, and I will also be emphasising at the hearing. “
The council is set to oppose the appeal at the Public Inquiry and will be represented by Uyen Van Han.
Following the Public Inquiry, the Inspector will publish a report with his recommendation to James Brokenshire MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. The Secretary of State will then make the final decision on the appeal.
NWGC Public Inquiry
If you want to observe proceedings, the inquiry will be held at:
Where: The Dickens Conference Room, The Birmingham & Midland Institute, 9 Margaret Street, Birmingham, B3 3BS
When: 10.00am on Tuesday 2nd to Friday 5th October, Tuesday 9th to Friday 12th October and Tuesday 16th to Wednesday 17th October 2018. Please note: The Public Inquiry is expected to last ten days but dates may be adjusted.