SOLIHULL needs to find room for 10,500 extra homes within the next 20 years a report says this week.
That is the number of dwellings being recommended by the planning inspector panel, whose findings were published on Tuesday.
While the figures will renew concerns for the borough’s green belt, the panel does recognise the importance of the Meriden Gap.
The report says: “For our part we consider that it would be contrary to the long-established strategy of maintaining the separation of Birmingham/Solihull and Coventry to contemplate the release of development land that is clearly within the Meriden Gap.”
However, Caroline Spelman - MP for Meriden - remains concerned and wants to see more planning powers restored to local communities.
And Gerald Kells, from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “We accept that houses need to be built but not in the great swathes that are being projected.”
In recent years a number of ideas have been mooted including concentrating development in urban centres and the possible expansion of communities like Dickens Heath. But both councillors and residents have insisted that Solihull’s leafy character must be preserved.
The latest recommendation is bigger than the 7,600 homes originally proposed by the West Midlands Regional Assembly, but much less than the 20,600 set down in a Government study last year.
Across the West Midlands, the report recommends that 397,900 homes be created by 2026. If the proposals were approved, then 57,500 additional homes would be built in Birmingham and an extra 33,5000 in Coventry.