Nimby Councils could lose planning Powers as new Balsall Town plans loom

The spectre of a new town-sized development “around Balsall Common” looms as Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council considers the content of the Greater Birmingham Strategic Housing survey final report.

The report highlights the settlement as one of four potential locations for major housing development to tackle the national housing crisis and now also sits against the backdrop of National Government’s aggressive new plans to solve the housing crisis.

Housing Secretary Sajid Javid has spoken belligerently about local Planning Authorities failing to keep up with demand:

“At the moment there is nothing in the system that checks to see they are actually delivering. There’s no comeback or sanction and that is going to change.”

Javid told The Guardian newspaper:

“We have a housing crisis in this country. We need a housing revolution. The new rules will no longer allow ‘nimby’ councils that don’t really want to build the homes that their local community needs to fudge the numbers.”

Heat Map Showing New Town Development ‘Around Balsall Common’

Greater Birmingham Strategic Housing survey final report

Solihull Council is currently considering a report which highlights Balsall Common as one of four favoured locations for major development in the Greater Birmingham region.  It states:

“This area is free from nationally significant constraints.”

It’s a description which suggests there is a strong chance of major development.  With National Government’s aggressive new stance on housing policy this will undoubtedly pile pressure on Solihull Council in terms of accommodating the proposals.

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In a report which mentions Balsall Common more than 20 times, here are a selection of notes from the Greater Birmingham Strategic Growth Study:

References to Balsall Common:
p34 Areas of Search
p36 Balsall Common recommended for further research
p37 Map showing settlement proposal ‘Around Balsall Common’
p179-180 Section on settlement patterns refers to Balsall Common as does the section on Green Belt Role
p194 Development gap between Birmingham and Coventry is referenced in terms of being narrowed should development occur in Balsall Common: “The potential scale and orientation of development in this location would need careful consideration given the route of the West Coast Mainline and HS2 which, from Balsall Common, will run broadly parallel to the A452.”
“This area is free from nationally significant constraints. There are small portions of Ancient Woodland and areas covered by Flood Zone 3 further afield however it is considered these could be mitigated, given the strategic nature of a new settlement. The presence of the railway corridor running north east-south west from the conurbation and a railway station at Balsall Common supports the potential for residential as well as employment development around this area.”
p202: Green Belt reference relating to Balsall Common
p206: Balsall Common referenced under Areas of Search
p210: Balsall Common referenced under areas capable of meeting unmet [housing] needs
p211: Balsall Common referenced as one of 5 locations capable of meeting a significant proportion of unmet housing needs
p213: Balsall Common referenced as one of 10 Areas of Search for New Settlements/Towns.  Balsall Common referred to as favourable in terms of economic/transport-related factors.
p220-221: Balsall Common referenced under Public Transport – Results
p227: Balsall Common referenced under Areas of Search- Public Utilities
p236: Balsall Common referenced in relation to housing prices
p249: Balsall Common referenced under section on New Settlements