The Humble Petition of citizens of the Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield,
That the proposal to build 6000 homes on the Green Belt that surrounds the Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield should not proceed while accepting that significant new housing should be built in more appropriate places.
Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your Honourable House considers this proposal and lays it aside.
And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, &c.—[Presented by Mr Andrew Mitchell, Official Report, 12 September 2016; Vol. 614, c. 735.]
Observations from the Minister for Housing and Planning (Gavin Barwell): Green Belts are created by local authorities, who are expected to protect them in line with policy set out in the National Planning Policy Framework. The Framework states that a Green Belt boundary can be altered only in exceptional circumstances, In the Housing White Paper, Fixing our broken housing market, the Government reaffirmed its commitment to Green Belt protections.
Local authorities, working with their communities, are responsible for determining the best location for the new homes needed in the area. The Framework recognises that, in exceptional circumstances, a local authority may find it necessary to review the extent of its Green Belt using the Local Plan process of public consultation followed by examination in public of the draft Plan, as happened in the preparation of the Birmingham Development Plan.
All Local Plans are submitted to the Secretary of State for examination. Examinations are carried out on the Secretary of State’s behalf by an independent inspector who tests whether a plan is sound, which includes testing whether it is consistent with national policy.
Following local requests for intervention by the Secretary of State in Birmingham’s Plan process, the Secretary of State issued a holding direction preventing Birmingham Council from adopting its Plan.
After careful consideration, the Secretary of State found no grounds for intervening in the Birmingham Development Plan, noting that Birmingham Council had taken appropriate steps to maximise densities and use of brownfield land, and that the scale of housing need means that not all Birmingham's housing need could be met within the city. Accordingly, the holding direction was lifted and the Planning Inspector’s report was upheld. It can be viewed at:
This means that, after some years of discussion and revision of the draft Plan, including the statutory consultation with local people, the local authority is now able to proceed to adopt its Plan.
As and when planning applications are made for the land in question, the Petitioners will have further opportunities to comment to the local authority.