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67. The Council Plan is a corporate wide plan that sets out the direction the Council wants to go in, how it aims to travel on that journey and what is expected at the end of it. It represents a good starting point to develop a vision that can be used to shape the local plan. The Council Plan vision is one:
"Where everyone has an equal chance to be healthier, happier, safer and prosperous".
68. The Council Plan goes on to set the following priorities:
69. The Council Plan then identifies a number of key programmes that will help to address these priorities. Not all of the programmes are land use related, but those that are (at least in part) include the following:
70. The outcomes expected through the Council Plan by (or in) 2020 include:
71. The Local Plan is one major tool that can be used to enable the Council Plan vision to be achieved, in doing so the vision for the local plan should complement and build upon (in a land use planning context) the Council Plan vision. This is what is described in the following paragraphs.
By 2033, Solihull will have built on its distinct reputation as an attractive and aspirational place to live, learn, invest, work and play. It will have taken advantage of the unique opportunity to maximise the economic and social benefits of the High Speed 2 rail link and interchange both for the Borough and wider area; reflecting the Borough's location at the heart of the national rail and motorway network. In particular the opportunity will have been taken to ensure that the HS2 Interchange is well integrated to the Borough's green infrastructure and key economic assets, including Birmingham Airport, the NEC and JLR to ensure they, and others, can capitalise on this potential. The Borough will play a part in meeting, in a sustainable manner, the needs of its housing market area so that its residents have access to a range and choice of quality accommodation. The Borough will retain its sense of identity, both in its urban and rural area (including appropriate protection of the Green Belt); and the quality of the environment that make it a special place.
This vision will contribute towards the ability for everyone to have an equal chance to be healthier, happier, safer and prosperous, through managed growth.
72. It will be a Borough that continues to be economically successful and a driver for sustainable growth within the West Midlands; where the potential for managed growth within the UK Central area is unlocked and the ambitions for the economic assets contained within it are fully realised, without undermining the qualities that make the Borough attractive to people and investment. Essential infrastructure will be delivered to facilitate and underpin sustainable economic growth and the Borough will be a more accessible and integrated place where walking, cycling and public transport are more attractive and convenient alternatives to travel than by car.
73. Solihull will be a fairer and more equal Borough where all existing and future generations live healthier lifestyles, make healthier choices and have equal opportunities to a better range of high quality and affordable housing, education, jobs and an attractive, safe environment. We will have responded to and reduced the Borough's local housing need through the provision of a greater range and type of affordable and market housing; and Solihull's Gypsy and Traveller community will have been provided for. All local communities will have greater involvement in shaping their areas and neighbourhoods, helping to sustain the longevity of rural settlements through the Neighbourhood Plan process.
74. The Borough will continue to be 'Urbs in Rure', realising its ambitions for sustainable economic growth without compromising the quality of its environment, protecting the integrity of the Green Belt and retaining the strategic Meriden Gap between the Birmingham Conurbation and Coventry. The Borough's high quality Mature Suburbs, distinctive rural settlements, villages and wider Rural Area, its historic and natural environment and green infrastructure network will be protected and enhanced. The quality of the housing, public realm and green space will have been improved in the North Solihull Regeneration Area and in "rundown" areas within the Mature Suburbs and Rural Area. New development shall have taken the opportunity to provide additional open space that links into the Borough's green infrastructure to ensure the Borough's 'Urbs in Rure' character is maintained and enhanced.
75. In tackling climate change, the Borough will have significantly reduced its carbon emissions, realised its potential to deliver renewable and low carbon energy schemes and created development which has minimised, and is resilient to the future, impacts of climate change.
76. Solihull will have reduced the amount of waste produced in the Borough through increased recycling and re-use, eliminated the gap between the amount of waste arising and the capacity of its facilities and continued to provide an adequate supply of sand and gravel to help meet local development needs.
77. This Borough wide vision will have local area perspectives as explained in the following paragraphs.
78. The North Solihull regeneration programme will continue to have made a real difference to people's lives where there will be an increased choice in the housing stock through widening the housing mix, size, type and tenure, and improved quality; improved opportunities and access to employment; a more highly skilled workforce and a better range of jobs. This will include better connections to employment and other opportunities beyond the area through investment in public transport. Local communities will have become healthier, safer and mixed with easier access to thriving community hubs and village centres, enhanced green space and public realm. The River Cole valley and its setting will have been protected and enhanced. Chelmsley Wood Town Centre will have become a vibrant centre with a better range and quality of retail, leisure and community facilities.
79. Additional sustainable development will have been accommodated and a better range and mix of affordable housing provided without damaging the distinctive qualities of the residential suburbs of Castle Bromwich, Marston Green, Olton, Elmdon, Lyndon, Solihull, Hillfield, Monkspath and Shirley. Pockets of deprivation and dereliction within the Mature Suburbs will have been regenerated and the ambitions for and improvements to Shirley Town Centre will have been realised. Higher density development will have been delivered along key public transport corridors, and sustainable urban extensions accommodated to help meet the housing needs of the Borough and its housing market area. The Mature Suburbs will have retained its leafy suburban character and its network of high quality open spaces. Congestion throughout the Mature Suburbs will be better managed and car dependency reduced through improved opportunities for walking, cycling and public transport.
80. The Town Centre will have been strengthened as a strong, vibrant, accessible and strategically important centre and will continue to be the location of choice for both major and independent retailers and businesses. It will have become a mixed and sustainable community, providing for town centre living and a vibrant evening economy, and also catering for the shopping, employment, cultural and leisure needs of people in and beyond the Borough. The Town Centre's historic medieval core will have been protected and enhanced, together with its historic buildings, structures, spaces and views. Linkages to the surrounding attractive parks and the train station and key gateways into the Town Centre will have been improved. The potential for reducing carbon emissions through renewable and low carbon energy schemes within the Town Centre will have been realised and opportunities for travel by public transport, walking and cycling maximised.
81. The UK Central initiative captures the potential and ambitions for the Borough as a catalyst for a globally competitive knowledge based economy and driver for sustainable economic growth and employment will have been realised, without compromising the quality of its attractive countryside setting. The High Speed 2 rail link and supporting infrastructure will have been delivered, facilitating major economic and housing growth across the UK Central Hub Area. Investment in physical and green/blue infrastructure critical to the delivery of the plan will have been provided to underpin sustainable development within the area. The juxtaposition between town generating economic activity alongside the beauty of the ancient woodland, natural hedgerows, rolling green fields and wildlife is one of UKC's unique characteristics and greatest strengths, underpinning the 'urbs in rure' character.
82. The NEC will have diversified its offer in leisure and visitor facilities and remained a nationally important centre for exhibitions and major events. Airport capacity and capability will have been maximised through efficient use of the extended runway and through connecting the airport to the HS2 Interchange. JLR will have continued to be an internationally acclaimed company manufacturing high quality vehicles, whilst opportunities for its expansion and the location of suppliers close to the Solihull works will have been realised. Birmingham Business Park will have diversified its employment offer and have stronger links to the North Solihull Regeneration Area and Blythe Valley Park will have become a mixed and sustainable community with exemplar development and supporting facilities, and stronger links to adjacent communities.
83. The network of strong and vibrant communities across the Rural Area will have been sustained with a range of local facilities and services that are readily accessible on foot and by bicycle and that are appropriate to the scale and hierarchy of the settlement. An increased range of affordable housing will have been provided within each community, commensurate with the size of the settlement and its needs. The Borough will have continued to protect the best of the Green Belt, whilst sustainable extensions to those settlements that are highly accessible or have a wide range of services, and adjustments elsewhere in exceptional circumstances, will provide for the Borough's housing needs. The distinctive historic and natural environment of the Rural Area will have been protected and enhanced. The Borough will have continued to support the farm-based rural economy and encouraged sustainable management of the countryside. Appropriate waste management facilities will have been developed and sufficient sand and gravel extracted to facilitate development. The Rural Area has a number of distinct places that need to be recognised as explained in the following paragraphs.
84. New development in the village centres of Knowle and Dorridge will have ensured that the centres remain strong, vibrant and provide a variety of services and facilities for the local population. The historic core of Knowle will have been protected and enhanced and the local character and distinctiveness of the four settlements conserved, particularly, the Victorian and Edwardian development around and including Dorridge train station and the semi-rural village character of Hockley Heath. A mix of market and affordable housing will have been provided in Knowle, Dorridge and Bentley Heath, with significant new development on the edge of Knowle and Dorridge; and in Hockley Heath, affordable housing will have been provided to contribute towards meeting the Borough's local housing needs. Schools will have continued to thrive and grow to serve the local area.
85. A mix of market and affordable housing will have been provided in Hampton-in-Arden and Meriden to contribute towards meeting the Borough's housing needs and to secure the reclamation of the ammunition depot in the former. Local facilities and services will have been focused in Village Centres so that they are sustained and continue to cater for the needs of the local population. Whilst accommodating some development, the distinctive historic character of the settlements will have been conserved, particularly the Conservation Areas of Bickenhill, Hampton-in-Arden, Meriden Green and Meriden Hill and the separation of the villages within the Arden landscape. The area will have continued to extract sand and gravel and manage waste with facilities assimilated into the countryside, and worked quarries will have been restored.
86. A mix of market and affordable housing will have been provided through significant new development on the edge of Balsall Common to contribute towards meeting the Borough's housing need, and the centre of the village will have continued to thrive and cater for the needs of the local community. An alternative route will have been provided to relieve through traffic using the Kenilworth Road in the settlement. Schools will have continued to thrive and grow to serve the local area. The local distinctiveness of the area, characterised by its open countryside setting, sense of remoteness, distinctive fieldscapes, woodland and assets such as the River Blythe, Grand Union Canal and the network of scattered historic hamlets and farmsteads will have been protected and enhanced and the sustainable management of the countryside achieved. The historic almshouses, church, school and home farm of Temple Balsall will continue to be the heart of the hamlet. The special character of Temple Balsall, Berkswell, Walsal End and Barston will have been safeguarded by Conservation Area designation, with limited infilling only within the settlement of Chadwick End.
87. The area will have provided new market and affordable housing through significant new development at Dickens Heath, Cheswick Green, and Blythe Valley Park to contribute towards meeting the Borough's housing need, whilst retaining its intrinsic character of distinctive villages separated by open countryside. Blythe Valley Park will have become a mixed and sustainable community and aspirational place to live, work and play, amplified by its exemplar standard of design and construction and distinctive sense of place. Improvements to local facilities, services and public transport will have been realised, encouraging more sustainable travel patterns and improved connectivity to surrounding communities.