PLANS to build thousands of new homes, improve the borough’s poorest areas and revamp the town centre, have been put forward.
Councillor Ian Hedley, leader of Solihull Council, has urged the public to have their say on the borough’s emerging core strategy. The document will shape Solihull’s future for the next decade-and-a-half, tackling issues like the green belt, travellers’ sites and the housing shortage.
At a press briefing last week, Coun Hedley said that it was vital that local people came forward with their views and suggestions.
“At the moment we’ve got in excess of 15,000 people on the housing waiting list, which isn’t acceptable whichever way you look at it.
“A lot of people have said to me that their children can’t find homes in the local area - so they’re having to move away.
“I’ve got a problem with the term affordable housing, because all housing is affordable to someone, but we do need to create more social housing.”
But some of the proposals are already proving controversial, with the council considering expanding villages like Knowle, Balsall Common and Marston Green
This would eat into areas of the green-belt and has provoked anger among many of the borough’s leafy communities.
Also contentious is the plan to expand Birmingham Business Park - a development which has been thrown out several times in the past.
Elsewhere, plans have been outlined to dramatically expand the town centre by 2021, as well as improving facilities in Shirley and Chelmsley Wood.
Coun Hedley said he wanted to hear suggestions from local people about development sites which the local authority has overlooked.
Paul Watson, strategy director of community and economic regeneration, said that the demand would need to be balanced against protecting the character of the area.
Coun John Reeve said: “We don’t want to give people a chance to complain that they didn’t know about these proposals, so we’re doing all we can to get the message out there.”
The consultation period will run until December 10.
A series of drop-in sessions are being held – the first of which is at Marston Green Library on October 18
Residents can also pick up leaflets at local libraries and Solihull Connect, or log-on to www.solihull.gov.uk/ldf.