THE NUMBER of homes needing to be built in Redditch over the next two decades is set to remain unchanged.
Planning inspector Michael Hetherington has not recommended any alteration to the 6,400 homes proposed in Redditch Borough Council’s Local Plan 4 which covers the period up until 2030.
The Standard reported in December last year how questions had been raised about the Worcestershire Strategic Housing Market Assessment, prepared in 2012 for all the councils in Worcestershire to determine how many houses are needed in an area.
But after examining additional evidence put forward by planners and arguments by campaigners and developers at hearings in June, Mr Hetherington states in his interim conclusions a slightly lower figure of 6,300 is appropriate for the borough’s needs.
But as he has not recommended any alteration, and it is not a significant variation on what was proposed, the 6,400 now becomes the final figure, meaning more than 300 new homes on average will need to be built in Redditch every year over the period.
However the adoption of the plan – which guides development in Redditch up until 2030 – could be delayed because of issues with the housing figure proposed in neighbouring Bromsgrove District Council’s Local Plan, which may have to rise.
As 3,400 of the homes planned for Redditch are to be built over the border in Bromsgrove District around Foxlydiate the council will have to wait for the issue to be resolved before the process can proceed.
Further examination of the plan is scheduled for September and council chiefs will find out then if the original timetable to adopt Local Plan 4 by January next year is viable, when the document will have full force in planning decisions.
Planners have also adapted the document to commit to reviewing the plan once the impact of growth discussions for the Greater Birmingham area are known.
Based on current planning policy Redditch is full with all available land allocated for development. But if the borough is asked to take a significant number of Birmingham’s homes then it may result in planners considering other options.
Coun Greg Chance, responsible for planning on the council, said: “Our staff have worked incredibly hard to keep our plan on track and get it to where it is now.
Without a plan we are vulnerable to development that may not be suitable for the town so the sooner we get the plan in place it will allow us to move forward in the interests of the whole town, not just from a planning perspective, but encouraging investment as well.”