Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Plans for 200 more homes to stay

PLANS for more than 200 homes at the back of Arden and Knowle junior schools are set to be backed by council chiefs on Thursday despite protests.

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Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council is set to approve a borough-wide plan of where it will allow homes to be built to 2028.

These include (see maps, bottom of story):

• 100 homes to the back of Knowle Primary School, off Hampton Lane.
• 115 homes at Middlefield, at the back of Arden School.
• 150 homes at Four Ashes Lane, Bentley Health.

The council’s cabinet is set to this week agree the sites for use by 2018, pending final approval by the Government.

It has cut the numbers of homes in other parts of the borough but stood by the plans for Knowle and Bentley Heath.

After a public consultation, the council said: “None of the sites put forward in the representations are considered to perform better in sustainability terms than these sites, which are not within the Green Belt.”

It said developers who take on the sites will have to contribute to providing extra classroom space at Arden school.

Each will need further planning permission for detailed matters like the design of homes and road access.

The council said: “Arden school is likely to be oversubscribed from the 2013 academic intake and the development of these sites will be conditional on the provision of additional classroom and communal space to meet the needs of the existing and future population.”

The Knowle Society had objected, warning the sites would place “severe increased pressure on the infrastructure of Knowle and its neighbours”.

At least 40 per cent of homes in each development will need to be affordable and this will be triggered when plans are at for at least three homes.

The council said it accepted housing associations could be put off taking such small numbers but this could be offset by developers giving cash for affordable homes elsewhere.

For example, a developer this year offered the council £100,000 to not provide six affordable homes at the redevelopment of closed Woolmans Garden Centre off Grange Road in Dorridge.

It said it had been unable to find an affordable housing provider to on take the homes.

The council has dropped plans for 200 homes in Foxglove Crescent, North Solihull from 200 to 70.

The number of homes at Blythe Valley Park, near junction 4 of the M42, will increase from 250 to 350.

The council in its latest report: “There is no need to balance job creation and economic growth with new housing provision in the borough, as a significant proportion of jobs will be filled by people living elsewhere.”


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