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Draft Local Plan - Supplementary Consultation

Question 39 - Red Sites

Representation ID: 8621

Received: 15/03/2019

Respondent: Knight Frank

Agent: Knight Frank

Representation Summary:

Representation made by Knight Frank on behalf of Orchard Care Ltd in relation to the site at land between 39 and 79 Earlswood Road (Draft Local Plan Site Ref: 210), promoting the site for inclusion in the plan for a care home development.

Full text:

Land between 39 and 79 Earlswood Road

Question 39: Are there any red sites omitted which you believe should be included; if so which one(s) and why?

These representations are submitted by Knight Frank on behalf of the landowner, in response to the above consultation document and in relation to land between 39 and 79 Earlswood Road.
The Solihull Local Plan Review Draft Local Plan Consultation identifies the site Ref: 210 as being red. We set out bellow the reasons why we believe this site should be considered appropriate for development.

Site Context
The site comprises of paddock land located within the Green Belt, on the southern side of Earlswood Road, Dorridge, just to the east of its junction with Hansell Drive. On the opposite side of Earlswood Road is residential development, comprising relatively modern mostly two-storey detached houses of varying design and appearance, which are part of the built up area of the village. The site is an infill plot between existing properties to either side: to the west lies no.79, a very substantial dwelling; to the east is a ribbon of development comprising mainly of substantial houses.

There are no physical constraints on the site. The site is relatively flat with no topography issues. The Environmental Agency (EA) identifies the site as being located within Flood Zone 1, with the least probability of flooding. No statutory or locally listed buildings and/or monuments are located on, or in close proximity to the site. There are a number of locations for potential access along Earlswood Road including an existing agricultural access point from the sites north-east corner. Except for the southern boundary, the site is largely contained by mature, native hedgerow interspersed with mature trees which restricts views in and out of the site from Earlswood Road.

Potential Use
An outline planning application has been submitted for the erection of a care home (use class C2) comprising up to 81 bedrooms. The development would help to meet the urgent identified need to secure additional care home capacity within the Borough.

Site Deliverability
National Planning Policy Guidance (NPPG) sets out that when judging the deliverability of a site for plan-making purposes an assessment should be made regarding the suitability, availability and achievability of a development occurring. These factors are addressed in turn bellow.
The site was identified within the Solihull Strategic Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA 2016 ref. 210) as being appropriate for a 31 unit residential scheme. The site assessment demonstrated that the site has no physical constraints and performs well against the suitability, availability and achievability criteria.

Suitability
Whilst the site is in the Green Belt, the Draft Local Plan Supplementary Consultation: Site Assessments Green Belt Assessment found that the land was a lower performing parcel (RP47) overall with a combined score of 5. This suggests that the site is not essential to the significance of the Green Belt.

The Site Assessment identifies the site as having low/medium accessibility. We consider the site to be in a sustainable location. The site is well served by existing roads. Dorridge primary school is located 1.1 miles from the site. The nearest surgery is located 0.9 miles from the site. The nearest bus stop is situated on the corner of Hansell Drive and Grange Road within walking distance (330m) of the site. This provides high frequency connections to Solihull, Hockley Heath, and Wythall. To add to this, Dorridge Train Station is just 0.8 miles from the site and provides local trains to Warwick, Leamington Spa, the Black Country and Birmingham, and inter city services to London Marylebone.

The Site Assessment states that the development of the site would create an unacceptable incursion into the countryside, create an indefensible Green Belt boundary and set a precedent for the development of surrounding land. The site is essentially an infill plot between existing properties on the southern boundary of Dorridge. Rather than lead to unrestricted sprawl, the development would simply continue the existing line of development along Earlswood Road. As such, the site would be viewed and perceived as part of the linear development along Earlswood Road, and more broadly as part of the outer residential development at the southern edge of Dorridge. The development of the site would not lead to encroachment into countryside. The site is constrained by existing development on three sides which have set permanent and defensible boundaries, whilst new landscaping and planting along the southern site boundary would restrict encroachment and provide an improved buffer.

The Landscape character assessment found that the landscape character sensitivity of the site was medium. The site is largely contained by mature vegetation which restricts views in and out of the site. Existing trees and hedges could be retained and enhanced to create an attractive new landscape setting which would mature and compliment the area in landscape and visual terms. An effective landscaping strategy would keep the views out from the gable ends, as Broadacre Gardens are located to the east. To add to this, groups of trees and a new native hedge could be planted along the southern boundary. This would help to mitigate the visual impact and in turn the openness impact of the development when viewed from the south.

Availability
An outline planning application has been submitted for the erection of a care (use class C2) comprising up to 81 bedrooms. The landowner owns the freehold of the full extent of the site outlined in the attached plan. The landowner fully supports these representations that are submitted on their behalf. There are no legal issues, the site is in single ownership, and is therefore able to come forward for development without delay.

Achievability
The landowner has already engaged in a formal planning process to achieve a desired consent. There is a strong prospect that the site will become available for development within 0-5 years of the plan period.

Conclusion
In summary, the Solihull Local Plan Review Draft Local Plan Consultation should consider the site as appropriate for development. The site is suitable, available and achievable within the Plan period. The site has no physical constraints; is in a sustainable location; and is essentially an infill plot which would continue the existing line of development along Earlswood Road, and the southern boundary of Dorridge more broadly.

Yours sincerely,
Tom Stanley

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