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Development in and around the village is not only an opportunity for the settlement to play a major part in accommodating the Borough and wider area needs, but also to accommodate a scale of development that is capable of supporting significant infrastructure provision that can help play a part in dealing with existing issues and provide the necessary facilities for future residents. In particular the following areas have been identified and should be taken forward:
Balsall Common By-pass – Emerging work is indicating that continuing the line of Hall Meadow Road around the eastern side of the village, crossing Waste Lane at Catchems Corner and joining up with the A452 around the Meer End Road junction is the preferred route. The design of the road would be single carriageway with few direct access points thus being attractive to through traffic as an alternative to using Kenilworth Road through the centre. However the road would be expected to provide the main vehicular access into the Barratt's Farm development.
An Enhanced Centre – Although the centre provides for a range of retail services, it is rather limited in scope and given the level of growth proposed it provides an opportunity for additional residents to support new facilities. Furthermore, the environmental improvements along Kenilworth Road made possible through the provision of a by-pass will also provide a catalyst for enhancements to the centre. Most of the centre is located within Balsall parish, but areas in Berkswell may also be included. The Council will work with both parishes to agree an appropriate way forward, e.g. through a village centre masterplan..
Station Parking – The northern part of the Barratt's Farm development can be used to provide parking facilities for station users. This would be a short walk from the station and would seek to address the issue over commuter parking.
Improved Public Transport – A higher population gives greater potential for improved public transport services to be viable, e.g. better frequency of bus services and as HS2 starts to operate the existing main line has the potential to provide for greater local commuter services.
New Primary School – Based on the sites presently favoured for development, a new two form entry primary school is to be accommodated on the Barratt's Farm development. Funding for the school will be expected via section 106 agreements associated with the development of the allocated sites.
Secondary School – Heart of England School is located in Balsall Common but serves a far wider area, including a significant number of pupils living outside of Solihull. The School will be able to cater for pupils from the proposed developments from within its existing capacity, however this will need to be kept under review as more detail on housing numbers becomes clear. If expansion is required at the School this should be funded through Section 106 contributions.
Community Infrastructure Levy – Presently the parish councils will directly receive 15% of the levy collected in the area. This will increase to 25% once their Neighbourhood Plans are adopted. This will provide a significant source of funding that can be used to take forward appropriate projects that the community have identified as priorities. This can include simple relatively low cost actions (e.g. further traffic regulation orders) through to more substantial projects. It will be for the parish council to decide how this 'local' element of the CIL receipts is to be spent and there is potential for partnership working to maximise the use of monies from this source.
Concept Master Plans – The plans that accompany this consultation for the larger allocations include a draft concept masterplan. This seeks to identify the key existing features of the site that may need to be retained, and show at a high level where development is envisaged within the wider site. This is to ensure that when development proposals move to the planning application stage, there is certainty about the important elements of the development, e.g. appropriate green infrastructure & other requirements. This is to ensure a quality development. Whilst this may result in a lower gross to net developable area, this is to ensure a quality development is provided and then efficient use can be made of the net developable area so that the density of these areas will generally average at c35dph.
Green Belt Enhancements – The revised NPPF makes provision for environmental and/or access improvements to be undertaken to land that is to remain in the Green Belt to compensate for land that is taken up for development. This provides an opportunity for not only additional accessible open space, but also for wider Green Infrastructure improvements (e.g. parkland/woodland). This is especially important in the context of the Barratt's Farm development and provides an opportunity to link up with the Greenway (which is now to be extended further to link to the station).
Site 1 – Barratt's Farm (capacity 900)
This allocation focuses on Barratt's Farm but also includes other land holdings nearby. It would include land extending from the current edge of the settlement up to the line of HS2 which is considered would provide a strong defensible boundary at this point.
This parcel of land doesn't perform highly in the Green Belt Assessment and it well located, in accessibility terms, to public transport, the village centre and doctors surgery. This site is intended to accommodate the new primary school that is required to serve the settlement.
Site 2 – Frog Lane (capacity 110)
This site includes the land at the rear of the dwellings fronting Balsall Street East and up to the boundary with Frog Lane. The site to be allocated for development will exclude the playing fields/allotments at the eastern end of the site. The new Green Belt boundary will use Frog Lane and Holly Lane as strong defensible and well defined boundaries.
The site doesn't perform highly in the Green Belt Assessment and is well located with regard to the primary school, but less so for other facilities.
Site 3 – Windmill Lane (capacity 220)
This site is bounded by the settlement edge to the north and Kenilworth Road and Windmill Lane as they converge and join at the southern tip of the site.
Although the site is located a greater distance from the centre of the settlement than others, this did not prevent the SLP Inspector concluding that the area was so remote that would justify the omission of the two sites in this parcel bought forward under the last plan.
In Green Belt terms no other parcel of land around the settlement performs less well as identified by the Green Belt Assessment. At least in part this is due to the development and encroachment that has already taken place in the parcel.
Since the DLP was published, further call-for-sites submissions have been made to include all of the land at the southern tip of the parcel. Although this area wasn't included in the DLP allocation, it is considered there is a case for it being included in that it would use strong definable boundaries.
Site 21 – Pheasant Oak Farm
This is a new site to be included in the plan and is focussed on the farm complex (most of which has been included on the BLR), but also including adjacent land so that a strong and logical new Green Belt boundary is formed. This would mean that the allocation would stretch from the edge of the settlement up to the line of the by-pass and include all of the land between Waste Lane and Hob Lane that would sit west of the by-pass.
The western part of this area site in a Green Belt parcel that doesn't perform well in the Green Belt Assessment, and although the area of land to be removed from the Green Belt does extend further east than the parcel boundary, this is so that the by-pass would provide an appropriate boundary.
Site 22 – Trevallion Stud (capacity 300)
This is a new site to be included in the plan and is focussed on the land associated with the stud farm, but it also includes some adjacent parcels. The area to be removed from the Green Belt would be that bounded by Kenilworth Road and Wooten Green Lane – it would thus use strong, defensible boundaries to establish the extent of the Green Belt.
Although this is in a wider parcel assessed in the Green Belt Assessment as making a moderate contribution to Green Belt purposes, it is considered that due to the presence of built development and encroachment in this part of the parcel that this smaller area actually performs less well in its own right. A large part of this area is included on the Council's BLR
This is a new site to be included in the plan and the area for inclusion is focussed on the previously developed land part of the site that sits behind Lavender Hall Farm.
Although the site sits in a broad area parcel of the Green Belt assessment it is considered that the HS2 line will provide a new feature separating this site from the wider Green Belt that will remain to the north east. It is considered that due to the presence of built development and encroachment in this part of the parcel that this smaller area actually performs less well in its own right. A large part of this area is included on the Council's BLR.