Riddings Hill is emerging as the favourite site for at least 40 affordable houses in Balsall Common as part of the current proposals for Solihull council’s “Emerging Core Strategy” (ECS) which outlines the strategy for development in the next 5-10 years and is due to be ratified by the council this year. The strategy and supporting documents can be downloaded here. The plan also states there will be a further review of the Balsall Common bypass.
Approximately 20 greenbelt sites in Balsall Common were considered for development by the council against various criteria including access to schools and impact on the greenbelt. Only the 10 acre Ridings Hill site was flagged for further consideration and the analysis suggests that the site can house 120-200 dwellings of which 40% are mandated to be affordable – which means either rented out by a housing association or shared ownership with them.
We spoke to our District Councillor David Bell on the decision which has stemmed in part from the approval of the new Medical Centre:
“I voted for the new Doctors surgery on the Riddings Hill site as I was anxious that we get this new facility before the (Primary Care Trust) ran out of money. They did have a large deficit and of course are now due to be abolished. The site was the only one available that they would consider.I did add that the rest of the site was Greenbelt and I did not feel that the special circumstances attached to the surgery decision should in no way affect the Green Belt designation. I was duly assured of this. Only a few months later the Riddings Hill site was favoured for affordable housing which I accept would be welcome but our group on the Council are against the ECS and the way it has been consulted upon. The ECS will go to cabinet soon but if there is a change in leadership of the Council it may well be reconsidered after May as it will have to be ratified by full council.”
So the message is that it is that the final go-ahead for the Riddings Hill development will be partially dependent on the result of the upcoming local elections, but against other alternatives it is strongly preferred.
You can browse the document detailing all Balsall Common sites below (this might not be available If you are browsing from a mobile phone):