October 2012Outline Planning Application – Submitted Planning Application Number 2012/1627.

Public Consultation leaflet

The Solihull MBC Planning Committee meeting on 16th January 2013 was attended by 30 Tidbury Green residents and both the Chair of the Parish Council, Peter Seddon, and Borough Ward Councillor Ken Hawkins addressed the meeting, speaking against the development. A final decision on the outline planning application was deferred for two weeks  pending legal counsel’s guidance as to the soundness of the reasons for refusal.

SMBC Planning Committee minutes for 16th January 2013 – see item 7

30th January 2013: Solihull MBC Planning Committee decided 6 to 3 to reject the application to build at Lowbrook Farm.

SMBC Planning Committee minutes for 30th January 2013 – item 7.

February 2013:  The applicants to build 200 homes at Lowbrook Farm appealed SMBC’s decision for refusal.  The appeal can be found at the Planning Portal and inserting the appeal case number 2192128.

June 2013

The Appeal Inquiry took place at the Council House, Solihull on Wednesday 12th June 2013.

August 2013

Due to the illness of one of the barristers the inquiry did not see the completion of all required work. Consequently the inquiry was scheduled to be reconvened on the 6th and 9th September 2013.

October 2013

The Inquiry reconvened and was completed on the 6th and 9th September 2013.

As detailed above, a legal challenge was submitted to the High Court, by Gallagher Estates (Lowbrook Farm) and LionCourt Homes (Tidbury Green Farm). They claimed that the land at the sites they control should not be have been returned to Green belt and that Solliull’s Plan was flawed in the way that it was put together.

The judgement to the High Court appeal made by Gallagher Estates and LionCourt Homes, was made public on the 1st May 2014. The appeal succeeded on 2 of the 3 grounds raised against Solihull MBC, which relate to the housing need figures used in developing the plan and its method used to assess revisions to the green belt boundary (Lowbrook Farm and Tidbury Green farm)

This meant that SMBC had to reconsider its housing needs and the method it used to assess revisions to the greenbelt boundary.

Besides paragraphs in the Solihull Local Plan dealing with housing numbers that were deleted, the paragraph relating to the two sites in Tidbury Green that were to have been returned to the Green Belt has also been deleted. SMBC stressed at this point that this did not necessarily mean the sites are suitable for development or can now be developed.

SMBC asked the judge for permission to appeal his decision and that was been refused. However SMBC applied to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal.

This meant that SMBC had to reconsider its housing needs and the method it used to assess revisions to the greenbelt boundary.

Whilst the Legal Challenge was taking place, the report from the Lowbrook Farm Planning Inspector was delayed. Solihull tried to argue that the decision should be further delayed whilst their application to appeal the judges decision is pending. Gallaghers, the Lowbrook Farm developers, argued against any further delay and the Planning Inspectorate agreed with them.

The Planning Inspector  asked the parties who attended the Inquiry hearing if they would like to make any written comments about the then recently published government Planning Policy Guidance (PPG). The Parish Council made a submission in response to the invite.

SMBC were granted leave to appeal the High Court Decision on the Solihull Local Plan.

The court hearing to consider the appeal made by Solihull MBC against the decision by the High Court Judge on the Solihull Local Plan took place on the 25th and 26th November 2014.

On the 17th December 2014 Solihull MBC’s appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeal, failing on both counts: housing numbers and Tidbury Green sites.

The appeal hearing was re-opened on 9th June 2015, so that the Planning Inspector could consider the updated position resulting from the material changes in circumstances since September 2013, in advance of a decision being reached regarding the proposed development.  The Parish Council were advised that the only matter that would be discussed was housing land supply. As the Parish Council had never submitted any comments relating to this matter they decided not to submit any representation to the inquiry.

At the June 2015 meeting evidence was submitted from the appellant and CRP, who oppose the proposal. Solihull did address the inquiry, but did present all of their evidence. The Planning Inspector decided to re-open the inquiry on the 15th September at Solihull Moors FC, Autotech Stadium, Damson Parkway. It was anticipated the appeal hearing will last 2 days.

Again the Plannng Inspectors Office advised that the only matter that will be discussed is housing land supply, so consequently the Parish Council did not offer any representing.

The Parish Council, with the kind help of Peter Seddon, updated and submitted the sustainability report, originally submitted for Tidbury Green Farm as there was a lot of valuable evidence and information contained within the report which is relevant to the Lowbrook Farm appeal. The Parish Council  requested that the Planning Inspector considered this report as part of his decision making process.

Unfortunately the Planning Inspector did not accept the sustainability report which the Parish Council submitted. As detailed above this was the report that was originally produced for the Tidbury Green Farm Planning appeal, but later updated for Lowbrook Farm. The reason for refusing the Parish Councils request was that the Planning Inspector only wants to discuss Housing Land Supply at this point.

The Planning Appeal Inquiry took place on the 15th and 16th September 2015. Councillor Farr attended on behalf of the Parish Council. He advised that SMBC offered detailed, quality arguments to defend their views. They presented a five year housing supply to the Inquiry.

On the 8th October 2015 the Parish Council were advised that, following the closure of the Inquiry, the Inspector is now preparing his report and recommendation for submission to the Secretary of State for his consideration. In accordance with Schedule 2 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act the Secretary of State will issue his decision on or before 10th February 2016.

Latest Update

The Planning Appeal Inquiry was reconvened on the 15th and 16th September 2015. Councillor Farr attended on behalf of the Parish Council. He advised that SMBC offered detailed, quality arguments to defend their views. They presented a five year housing supply to the Inquiry.

On the 8th October 2015 the Parish Council were advised that, following the closure of the Inquiry, the Inspector was preparing his report and recommendation for submission to the Secretary of State for his consideration. we were also advised that In accordance with Schedule 2 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act the Secretary of State would issue his decision on or before 10thFebruary 2016.

During January 2016 the Parish Council wrote to the Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP and the Secretary of State requesting that the inquiry be reopened or alternatively the decision be delayed until the Solihull Local Plan Review is completed. Reason for this request included the fact that since June 2013 interested parties have not had an opportunity to express their views as any inquiry hearings since this date had focused only on 5 year housing supply matters. The Parish Council believe that changes have occurred including those relating to transport accessibility since June 2013 and we should have an opportunity to raise and discuss these matters.

The Parish Council also advised that they believe that if a decision was reached and the Lowbrook Farm appeal was allowed. that this could potentially influence the outcome of the available options within the solihull Review.

The Parish Council received correspondence from the Department for Communities and Local Government, advising that a decision would not be available by the original target date of the 10th February 2016 and that they hope to be in a position to issue a decision as soon as possible.