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Don't build homes on Sutton's green belt; VIEWS.

DOES Birmingham need to build on the Sutton Coldfield green belt? According to the West Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy, the answer is no.

Published in 2009, the report seemed to think that Birmingham did not need to go for an urban extension, like Sutton Coldfield, and could accommodate 57,500 homes over 20 years without doing so.

The Birmingham Development Plan published late 2012 claims this projection has changed and the city only has capacity to build 43,000 new homes on sites within the urban area between 2011-31.

This shortfall is the reason that the council felt that it was necessary to undertake recent consultation to consider options for increasing the supply of housing land. This included building up to 10,000 homes on the Sutton Coldfield green belt.

The case for an urban extension within Birmingham was only recommended by a limited number of participants and mostly related to Sutton Coldfield, where a number of developers have interests.

The RSS report rejected the developers' arguments in favour of the Sutton Coldfield green belt and thought the Black Country a more sustainable location for Birmingham City Council to build some of its future housing. The Black Country's Local Plan proposes a level of new housing provision which exceeds the latest projection for household growth. There is therefore potentially available capacity to help meet any shortfall in provision in Birmingham.

The report also felt the Black Country development would make better use of public transport infrastructure and had greater access to sites of employment, compared to Sutton Coldfield.

To conclude, the RSS strongly recommended a focus on 'urban renaissance'.

So you have to wonder what has changed? The findings of the West Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy report are as valid today as they were when published.

What new information is there to suggest Birmingham needs to go for an urban extension on the Sutton Coldfield green belt? Neil Nickolds, Sutton Coldfield
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 29, 2013
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