Bromsgrove District Plan Review
Bromsgrove District Council (BDC) as the local planning authority, is reviewing its District development plan. This includes an evaluation of all of the District’s green belt land, which is needed to find locations for a minimum of approximately 6,500 new homes to be built in the District by 2040.
The following are excerpts from the Council’s website. Click here to see full review
Green Belt Purposes Assessment
Green Belt Purposes Assessment: Part 1
Bromsgrove District Council has completed a Green Belt Purposes Part One Assessment, which is a strategic assessment of the Bromsgrove Green Belt against the Green Belt Purposes. This assessment has been carried out in accordance with the previously consulted upon Green Belt Purposes Assessment Methodology.
The Part 1 Assessment is the first stage in a wider process of Green Belt and site allocation work. This document does not, and is not intended to, justify the release of land from the Green Belt and it does not consider the development potential of land. It is purely intended to establish a baseline of how the Green Belt currently performs and is a starting point for more detailed site assessment and Green Belt assessment work to follow.
Green Belt Purposes Assessment Methodology
The Green Belt Purposes Assessment Methodology will guide the process in identifying whether Green Belt land in Bromsgrove continues to fulfil one or more of the Green Belt purposes. The Assessment will take place in two parts: Part 1 is to take stock of the Green Belt within Bromsgrove. It will provide an opportunity to better understand how the Green Belt in the District performs. Part 2 will assess individual sites against the purposes of the Green Belt.
BDC Green Belt Purposes Assessment
Strategic Parcel Ref: SE5
Part 1 – Strategic Assessment of the Green Belt
Name of Parcel – Rowney Green
Purpose 1) Land parcel is not adjacent to a large built-up area and does not play a role in preventing the sprawl of these areas.
Purpose 2) The neighbouring settlement pertinent to the assessment under this purpose is Redditch. The significant feature within this parcel is the Redditch Road, which runs north/ south between Redditch and Alvechurch. This road already displays significant ribbon development both to the south of Alvechurch and north of Bordesley. However, beyond the extent of the Redditch Road (the southern half of the parcel, westwards towards the railway line), the parcel plays a strong role in preventing Alvechurch merging with Redditch, alongside and in conjunction with Parcel SE9. Loss of openness would have a negative impact on the existing gap
Purpose 3) There is evidence of encroachment along the Redditch Road, both south of Alvechurch and north of Bordesley. Southwards from Alvechurch, urbanising features not only include residential development, but also some commercial development and hardstanding and the Alvechurch Town Football Club, which is floodlit.
Moving focus away from the Redditch Road, the majority of the parcel has a rural feel. The land to the south of Alvechurch and west of the Redditch Road is predominantly agricultural land. The land to the east of Alvechurch contains more development in terms of isolated residential properties, roads and agricultural features, but maintains a rural feel.
Response from the RGA :
On behalf of the Rowney Green Association (RGA), a subcommittee was appointed to consider the Bromsgrove District Plan review update. The whole document has been read and debated but focus has naturally been on land parcel SE5, which includes Rowney Green village.
Overall the RGA supports the update but believes that land parcel SE5 should be Strong with regard to Green Belt purpose 3.
The RGA recognise the need for additional housing arising both within the District and as ‘overspill’ from the West Midlands conurbation. We are happy with the high-level approach to distribution of development i.e. focussing expansion on Bromsgrove and the six larger settlements with suitable enhancements to existing transport corridors/transport links. We also recognise that land will need to be released from the Green Belt to accommodate this development, and that a proportion will be required on smaller sites.
Part one of the Green Belt assessment has been carried out objectively. Specifically, for land parcel SE5 however, we have two observations.
For purpose 2 (To prevent neighbouring towns from merging), please note that the physical distance between Birmingham and Redditch looking across land parcels NE1, SE5 and SE8 is perhaps the narrowest across all of the Green Belt around Birmingham. We understand why a rating of ‘Moderate’ has been given but development in this middle land parcel would leave very little space between these two major built up areas.
For purpose 3 (To assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment) we believe the rating should be ‘Strong’. Our objective evidence to support this view is set out below.
Most of the parcel SE 5 is part of the parish of Alvechurch. The Alvechurch Neighbourhood Plan has been ‘made’ recently and is now part of the statutory development plan for the neighbourhood area. It has developed policies to maintain the openness of the Green Belt from uncontrolled or poorly placed development.
In SE 5 there are constraints to do with local wildlife and heritage sites, and important parish assets. See pages 2, 12 – 14 of 118, Topic 2 (Heritage Design and Natural Environment, HDNE 4, HDNE6) and the Evidence Base of the Neighbourhood Plan.
Worcestershire County Council, supported by English Heritage/Historic England, has produced the document “Alvechurch Historic Environment Action Plan – Rowney Green, Bordesley and Alvechurch Park. (ALV_A3) as part of a pilot study. Link is given in Alvechurch Neighbourhood Plan on page 22 of 118. https://public.worcestershire.gov.uk/sites/archaeology/Reports/SWR22703.pdf
As well as ancient woodland and ancient wood pasture, and together with the river Arrow and its tributaries, providing long wildlife corridors, there are areas of wet and dry acid grassland, supporting species rare in Worcestershire. The white-clawed crayfish is a globally threatened species living in Local Wildlife Site Dagnell Brook. Headwaters of the brook arise from Local Wildlife Site Rowney Green, the habitat being wet and dry acid grassland. (Ref.Worcestershire Biodiversity Action Plan. www.worcestershire.gov.uk/info/20252/environment_policy/1155/biodiversity_action_plan
The landscape and history of Rowney Green is described at www.rowneygreen.org with a link to a 16 mile cycle tour of the area. SE 5 is a rural area but it is also intensely used by the wider community for informal recreation, using the lanes and the network of historic paths which are well- maintained by volunteers and supported by the county council. Residential accommodation for groups of thirty-six people is provided by the Methodist Church at Peck Wood Centre (with nine hectares of mainly ancient woodland) for youth groups from the city and elsewhere to enjoy rural holidays. www.peckwood.org