Planning reforms put key decisions on ice

The Local Plan for Bromsgrove district has to wait for the outcome of the Government’s radical planning proposals before it can move ahead with major strategic decisions.
The proposed changes call into question the thinking behind the “Barntchurch” idea for a “garden village” of 10,000 to 15,000 new homes in The Village area.
The Planning for the Future White Paper looks to simplify and speed up the planning process by categorizing areas into zones – “growth”, “renewal” and “protected” – which, once set, could remove much of the current discretion local people have, via their planning committee, over housing and other developments.
It would also introduce “top down” housing numbers imposed from Westminster which, it is believed, would end the “duty to co-operate” with nearby local authorities. This currently entails allowing houses to be built, for example, on Bromsgrove Green Belt land to meet the needs of Birmingham.
This is a core element of the Barntchurch idea that has hung over this area since early 2018.
Mike Dunphy, Bromsgrove’s strategic planning manager, told The Village: “We’re still able to make progress on some elements of the Local Plan, which we are doing, and we’ll await the outcomes of the proposed reforms before making any key decisions.”