Solihull Local Plan (Draft Submission) 2020
Ended on the 14 December 2020
(4) North of the Borough
The Settlements Now
Castle Bromwich and Marston Green
- Castle Bromwich and Marston Green are popular mature residential suburbs which are generally affluent in character with good schools, strong local centres and lower than average unemployment levels in the Borough. Both areas are largely characterised by relatively high house prices and a shortage of affordable housing. Modern estates within both of these suburbs tend to be open plan with a cul-de-sac layout and with a mix of predominantly semi-detached and detached properties.
- Castle Bromwich has had a more historic pattern of development including traditional Victorian and Edwardian development.
- Marston Green is more mixed in character benefitting from natural areas including a small watercourse and the Green Belt buffer. It is bounded by significant commercial development at Birmingham Airport and Birmingham Business Park and has areas occupied by more traditional business premises. The railway runs through the edge of the area with Marston Green Station providing access to Birmingham International and Birmingham stations.
Chelmsley Wood, Fordbridge, Kingshurst & Smith's Wood
- In contrast to the rest of the Borough there is part of North Solihull (covering the wards of Chelmsley Wood, Kingshurst & Fordbridge and Smith's Wood) that has a high proportion of local neighbourhoods within the 10% most deprived in the country and some in the bottom 5%. The area is largely characterised by 1960's housing estates arranged around parking courtyards, small green spaces and precinct shopping areas. The separation of pedestrian and car access via a mix of subways and dual carriageways has resulted in poorly overlooked amenity spaces and pedestrian routes. This has contributed to antisocial behaviour, an increased fear of crime and an overall reduction in the quality of environment.
- Since 2005 the area has been the subject of a large regeneration programme. This has delivered significant improvements to the area providing more than 1,710 new homes (social and private) on 40 different sites as well as a range of other improvements including two new village centres, six new primary schools, six parks and improved green space and play facilities. Development has included the demolition of a large amount of unsuitable housing stock including 5 high-rise blocks. Alongside the physical regeneration, socio-economic programmes have been developed to support local community and voluntary organisations. Important improvements have been secured in Key Stage 2 and 4 educational attainment and locally based job creation.
- The area does benefit from a network of natural spaces including woodlands, nature reserves and parks which make up the setting of the River Cole. These are important features which influence the availability and focus of further opportunities for development in the future.
- The North Solihull area has also been identified as part of the wider UK Central proposals (as one of the four interconnected economic opportunity zones) as an area with potential to benefit from the significant development proposed at the adjacent UK Central Hub. This will be dependent on addressing accessibility barriers both in terms of transport links in and out of the area and a relatively poor skills / training base within the area.
The Settlements in the Future
- The residential areas of Castle Bromwich and Marston Green are already largely built up and as such there are limited opportunities for further development without compromising the quality of the environment and existing open spaces.
- In the Marston Green area industrial restructuring may mean brownfield sites currently occupied by traditional employment uses could become available later in the plan period however there is considerable uncertainty over this. The NEC and Birmingham Airport are significant assets on the edge of the area which together with the UK Central proposals including the HS2 interchange station will provide extensive economic growth during and beyond the plan period. The wider benefits of the proposals may result in opportunities for redevelopment within Marston Green. However it will be necessary to ensure any development both within and adjacent to the area is sensitive to the existing residential character. The need to ensure an appropriate buffer between neighbouring large scale proposals and the existing built form should be incorporated into proposals.
- In North Solihull the success of the extensive regeneration programme continues to be built upon with schemes being developed to improve existing facilities including Kingshurst Village Centre and Chelmsley Wood Town Centre. The SLP (2013) had a particular focus on the North Solihull Regeneration Area and it released a number of Green Belt sites to support the regeneration programme, and these have mostly been developed out. As a consequence of this strategy the opportunities that now remain will largely be focussed on development of the Simon Digby site, redevelopment opportunities and village/town centre redevelopment.
- Access to employment opportunities, improving the skills base and environmental enhancements will be key issues when assessing potential opportunities.
What is required for the Settlements in the Future?
- The suburbs would benefit from opportunities to expand the mix and affordability of housing however the lack of sites opportunities for development will impact on the extent to which this can be achieved.
- Future developmentin North Solihull, described above, will provide the opportunity to further address existing issues relating to:
- Improving the skills base and access to employment–The North Solihull area itself has very limitedemployment and commercial floor space and with car ownership lower than in other parts of the Borough access to jobs is limited. North Solihull forms one of the four zones identified through the UK Central programme which seeks to redistribute the benefits of the wider scheme.
- Improving the mix and quality of housing – Although the regeneration programme brought about significant achievements, there is still opportunity to seek improvements in the quality of the housing stock and to ensure a wider mix in the type and tenure of housing. The ability to deliver improvements may be affected by economic viability and require different delivery mechanisms.
- Improvements to Chelmsley Wood Town Centre and Kingshurst Village Centre – A master plan is emerging to redevelop and enhance theexisting Chelmsley Wood Centre which ischaracterised by older, poorer quality 1960s retail and residential units. This may present opportunities for providing additional housing in the area. A master plan is also being prepared for Kingshurst Village Centre to support its redevelopment.
- Improving access to public transport - The provision of a well-integrated public transport system is key to provide access to jobs and facilities outside the area. It is proposed that as part of the development of the UK Central Hub there will be improvements which will provide access to the facilities and opportunities presented by the new development.
- Public space enhancements – There are still pockets of the built up area which would benefit from environmental enhancement to improve amenity and sense of place. It is important that public realm improvements continue to be pursued as part of the redevelopment of the remaining sites and that any further regeneration opportunities do not compromise existing public open spaces such as playing pitches, unless the impacts can be mitigated. The supply of open space is already constrained therefore finding replacement facilities in the local area will be challenging.
- There have been no suitable sites identified in Castle Bromwich and any future development is likely to be confined to smaller previously developed infill sites with potential limited opportunities to increase the mix and affordability of the housing stock. These would be more likely to come forward as windfall sites.
- In Marston Green the availability of sites is further constrained by the presence of significant recreation assets which make up the setting of the settlement. In addition the Green Belt in this area provides an important open space buffer between built up areas and commercial premises to the south and east of the area thus preserving the identities of the settlements.
- The proposed developments in North Solihull are focused on the remaining regeneration opportunities largely identified by the North Solihull Regeneration programme. These options are mainly on brownfield sites which support the Council's strategic vision for promoting economic growth, local centres and making best use of previously developed land.
SLP Site 3 – Simon Digby, Chelmsley Wood (capacity 200)
- This site was an allocation in the adopted 2013 Solihull Local Plan. As an adopted allocation this remains to be bought forward and is not affected by this consultation.
Policy NS1 - Kingshurst Village Centre
- The site is allocated for 50 dwellings.
- Outline permission for the development of Kingshurst Parade was submitted in July 2020. This application is supported by a narrative which provides the rationale behind this master-plan approach which seeks to reinforce the relationship of the Village Centre with is neighbouring community and existing amenities.
- It is considered that the outline permission is likely to be granted prior to the adoption of the Local Plan therefore the illustrative masterplan proposed will form the design principle to be carried forward at reserve matters application stage.
- The Concept Masterplan document should be read alongside this policy and any significant departure from the principles outlined for Site 17 will need to be justified and demonstrate that the overall vision and objectives for the site and its wider context are not compromised.
- This site is subject to a current planning application for the redevelopment of the former Kingshurst Village centre. This will include the demolition of the existing retail and residential units and redevelopment for mixed use. Planning permission for the redevelopment of the centre was granted in September 2020 and when land supply schedules are updated this site will be included in the relevant schedule as a site with planning permission.
 The indicated capacity is the number of net additional units as it takes into account the number of units being demolished.