Solihull Local Plan (Draft Submission) 2020

Ended on the 14th December 2020
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(15) Vision

Council Plan (2020 to 2025)

  1. The Council Plan (July 2020) sets out the Council's direction in the five year period to 2025. It is a basis for engagement with Solihull residents and businesses and is therefore a good starting point to develop a vision that can be used to shape the local plan. The Council Plan vision is one:

'Where everyone has an equal chance to be healthier, happier, safer and more prosperous through growth that creates opportunities for all'.

  1. The Plan has been developed in the context of the Solihull Health and Wellbeing Strategy and the Covid-19 Economic Recovery Plan.
  2. The basis of the Plan is that economic development, environmental sustainability and health and wellbeing must move forward together so that sustainable inclusive economic growth and opportunity for all can be realised.
  3. The Plan identifies five building blocks of inclusive economic growth:
  • Building a vibrant economy (including social economy),
  • Promoting and delivering social value
  • Enabling communities to thrive
  • Actioning the Council's climate change declaration
  • Improving skills and access to good work.
  1. Everything that the Council does aims to contribute to one or more of these. The Council Plan identifies a number of priorities and component activities to be done by 2025. The local plan makes a contribution (at least in part) to the following priorities.

Economy

  • Revitalising our towns and local centres
  • UK Central (UKC) and maximising the opportunities of HS2
  • Increase the supply of housing, especially affordable and social housing
  1. The outcomes from this will be that town and local centres have stable or growing economies, people, business and the environment benefit from UKC and HS2, including increased access to good work, and there is more affordable and environmentally sustainable housing.

Environment

  • Enhance Solihull's natural environment
  • Improve Solihull's air quality
  • Reduce Solihull's net carbon emissions
  1. The outcomes from these activities will include an enhanced, well connected natural environment, more people walking, cycling and using public transport, improvement in air quality with clear progress toward achieving net zero carbon – the Council by 2030 and the Borough by 2041.

People and Communities

  • Take action to improve life chances in our most disadvantaged communities
  • Enable communities to thrive
  • Sustainable, quality, affordable provision for adults & children with complex needs.
  1. Achieving this priority will see increases in residents with significant disadvantages moving into employment, education or training, and stronger, more connected, resourceful communities finding solutions to local problems.
  2. The Local Plan is one major tool that can be used to enable the Council Plan vision to be achieved, in doing so the vision for the local plan should complement and build upon (in a land use planning context) the Council Plan vision. This is what is described in the following paragraphs.

Borough Vision - Overview

By 2036, Solihull will have built on its distinct reputation as an attractive and aspirational place to live, learn, invest, work and play.

It will have taken advantage of the unique opportunity to maximise the economic and social benefits of the High Speed 2 rail link and interchange both for the Borough and wider area; reflecting the Borough's location at the heart of the national rail and motorway network. In particular the opportunity will have been taken to ensure that the HS2 Interchange is well integrated to the Borough's green infrastructure and key economic assets, including Birmingham Airport, the NEC and JLR to ensure they, and others, can capitalise on this potential.

The Borough will play a part in meeting, in a sustainable manner, the needs of its housing market area so that its residents have access to a range and choice of quality accommodation.

The Borough will retain its sense of identity, both in its urban and rural area (including protection of the Green Belt which contains the strategically important Meriden Gap); and the quality of the environment that make it a special place.

This vision will be underpinned by ensuring all relevant activities are underpinned and fully integrated with measures to tackle the Climate Change emergency; recognising that this has a cross cutting dimension that extends across economic, social and environmental objectives.

Achieving this vision will contribute towards the ability for everyone to have an equal chance to be healthier, happier, safer and prosperous, through growth that creates opportunities for all.

Borough Vision in Detail

  1. It will be a Borough that continues to be economically successful and a driver for sustainable growth within the West Midlands; where the potential for sustainable inclusive economic growth within the UK Central area is unlocked and the ambitions for the economic assets contained within it are fully realised, without undermining the qualities that make the Borough attractive to people and investment. Essential infrastructure will be delivered to facilitate and underpin sustainable economic growth and the Borough will be a more accessible and integrated place where walking, cycling and public transport are more attractive and convenient alternatives to travel than by car.
  2. Solihull will be a fairer and more equal Borough where all existing and future generations live healthier lifestyles, make healthier choices and have equal opportunities to a better range of high quality and affordable housing, education, jobs and an attractive, safe environment. We will have responded to and reduced the Borough's local housing need through the provision of a greater range and type of affordable and market housing; and Solihull's Gypsy and Traveller community will have been provided for. All local communities will have greater involvement in shaping their areas and neighbourhoods, helping to sustain the longevity of rural settlements through the Neighbourhood Plan process.
  3. The Borough will continue to be 'Urbs in Rure', realising its ambitions for sustainable economic growth without compromising the quality of its environment, protecting the integrity of the Green Belt and retaining the strategic Meriden Gap between the Birmingham Conurbation and Coventry. The Borough's high quality Mature Suburbs, distinctive rural settlements, villages and wider Rural Area, its historic and natural environment and green infrastructure network will be protected and enhanced. The quality of the housing, public realm and green space will have been maintained and improved across the Borough. New development shall have taken the opportunity to provide additional open space that links into the Borough's green infrastructure to ensure the Borough's 'Urbs in Rure' character is maintained and enhanced.
  4. The Council recognises the gravity of the climate change emergency and in October 2019 made a Declaration of Intent to collaborate with, and support the WMCA in delivering the West Midlands target of net-zero emissions by 2041. The Council has also set a target to become a net carbon zero Council by 2030.
  5. In tackling climate change, the Borough will have significantly reduced its carbon emissions, realised its potential to deliver renewable and low carbon energy schemes and created development which has minimised, and is resilient to the future, impacts of climate change.
  6. Solihull will have reduced the amount of waste produced in the Borough through increased recycling and re-use, eliminated the gap between the amount of waste arising and the capacity of its facilities and continued to provide an adequate supply of sand and gravel to help meet local development needs.
  7. This Borough wide vision will have local area perspectives as explained in the settlement chapters.
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