The shape of Solihull Borough’s housing for the next 20 years will be decided when the Local Development Framework (LDF) comes into force in 2011.
There is a pressing need to provide housing for the elderly and we also need to have suitable homes for people with special needs.
And we need homes for young people. Parents often complain to me that their adult sons and daughters cannot afford to buy in their own area.
I was interested to hear about a scheme in the Warwickshire village of Harbury which gives its inhabitants the chance to stay in their own community. Linfoot Country Homes joined Warwickshire Rural Housing Association in developing 22 homes, of which nine are for purchase by those with strong connections with the village .The remainder are available for affordable rent with stringent local criteria applied.
The Government is introducing Land Trusts to allow a community to acquire land to build homes for people who have a local link. So a village could form a Land Trust and build up to 15 homes without going through the normal planning process. This gives the villages a chance to maintain their schools, the village shop and the local traders.
We need to consult with the local community over every proposed site and then produce a development brief. I want to encourage as many people as possible to have their say in the future of the borough. We need local decisions by local people to determine what type of development is best suited.