Home Planning and Development
Planning and Development PDF Print E-mail

Planning Updates

Solihull Local Plan

The Council's Local Plan which sets out targets for the number of new homes to be built in Solihull and defines how that target will be achieved was approved by the Government's Planning Inspector and then formally adopted by Solihull Council in early December 2013. This plan originally  included for the return of Lowbrook Farm and Tidbury Green Farm land to green belt status.

Legal challenge

During early January 2014 a legal challenge was submitted to the High Court, by Gallagher Estates (Lowbrook Farm) and LionCourt Homes (Tidbury Green Farm).

The judgement to the High Court appeal, was made public on the 1st May 2014. The appeal succeeded on 2 of the 3 grounds raised against Solihull MBC, which relate 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.

Solihull MBC (SMBC) published a statement regarding the Court Order made by the judge. SMBC sought to limit any deletions or changes that the judge required them to make to the Local Plan to those parts which were the subject of the court case and the judge agreed. The affected sections were those dealing with housing numbers and the judge ordered that they be sent back to the Government Planning for re-examination.

Besides paragraphs in the Solihull Local Plan dealing with housing numbers that were been deleted, the paragraph relating to the two sites in Tidbury Green that were to have been returned to the Green Belt was also deleted. SMBC stressed 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 refused.

Solihull MBC produced a Position Statement, which was requested by the High Court Judge. Within the Position Statement sites included in the Solihull Local Plan as future phased developments were considered, in order to demonstrate that Solihull could meet its 5 year housing land requirements,

Previously submitted applications which were scheduled as phase 2 and 3 developments (Braggs Farm, Cleobury Lane/Dickens Heath Road and Mount Dairy Farm) had been fought predominately on the phasing argument and the fact that SMBC could demonstrate a 5 year housing land supply, based on the Local Plan. SMBC were no longer in a position to use these factors as reasons to oppose the re-submitted applications for these 3 developments and consequently the development proposals were brought forward and approved

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. It was argued that both Tidbury Green Farm and Lowbrook Farm sites are not suitable for 'sustainable development', however the judges concluded that sustainability for development was not a 'green belt reason' for the change back to green belt. In terms of the housing target numbers the judges concluded that Solihull had not undertaken an Objective Assessment of Needs (of the number of houses it would require. Consequently Lowbrook Farm and Tidbury Green Farm sites are not green belt designated sites and Solihull are required to review and re-assess their housing land supply numbers.


Development of land off Fulford Hall Road - Tidbury Green Farm


October 2013Outline Planning Application submitted for residential development of up to 190 dwellings with associated infrastructure, including means of access, sustainable Drainage System and open space.  Planning Application number 2013/1705.

The application by LionCourt Homes was rejected by the Planning Committee on 30th January 2014. The land at the time was defined as green belt land within the Solihull Local Plan and the development was considered inappropriate.

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 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 have been 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 were 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.

On the 16th July 2014 the Parish Council received notification that Lion Court Homes had appealed the decision to refuse Planning Application Number 2013/1705 - Outline Planning Application to build up to 190 at Tidbury Green Farm.

Following the submission of the appeal Tidbury Green Parish Council submitted further written representation, detailing why they object to the proposal.

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.

Given that the only argument that Solihull MBC used to refuse the application was the green belt and the fact that this is no longer the case, SMBC made the decision, not to contest the appeal. The Planning Inspector held a 2 day public inquiry on 9th April to consider the appeal.


Latest Update

Tidbury Green Parish Council attended the public inquiry in April 2015 and presented a statement providing views and arguments against the proposal to build 190 homes. The Parish council felt that all relevant points including sustainability, scale, drainage and traffic volumes were discussed and given full consideration by the Planning Inspector.

During the Public Inquiry the appellants submitted additional documentation, including a defence document, responding to statements raised by objectors. The Planning Inspector provided the Parish Council and others with an opportunity to respond to the documents.

The Parish Council worked hard to gather evidence and develop a detailed report, supported by information gathered to demonstrate poor sustainability credentials of Tidbury Green. This report was submitted to the Planning Inspector.

We now await a decision.

 

Development of land at Lowbrook Farm

 

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.

 

Latest Update

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 has now decided to re-open the inquiry on he 14th September and it will be held atSolihull Moors FC, Autotech Stadium, Damson Parkway. It is anticipated the appeal hearing will last 2 days.

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

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

The Parish Council awaits his response.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Copyright © 2015 Tidbury Green Parish Council. All Rights Reserved.