Neighbourhood Plan for Knowle, Dorridge & Bentley Heath – Meeting on 6th December

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With the changes in Planning Guidance from Central Government it has become apparent to Solihull MBC that all the parish councils in the borough need to have an input into how their areas develop. The demand for housing where we live have far reaching impacts unless appropriately managed.

The demand in the Knowle, Dorridge and Bentley Heath areas continue to grow due to the services on offer such as rail, transport links and good quality education but it is also paramount that the quality of the present environment is at least maintained but also improved.

It is against this background that both the Knowle Society and Dorridge and District Residents Association have come together to ask for the residents to become involved in the future of their neighbourhood.

Planning guidance allows for local plans, supported by the local community, that are allowed to flesh out the centrally produced planning framework which in turn is shaped by Solihull’s Local Development Framework. In recent times guidance has been changed to explicitly state that local plans can only support development, they are not allowed to resist it. Previous exercises in considering creating local plans seemed inappropriate with the dangers of such plans being cherry picked for the bits that the developers want rather than having the desired advice of all aspects. To support neighbourhood plans and ensure that they are robust, there is a substantial grant available to ensure that any plan produced is evidence based, and can withstand the robust scrutiny of both the Planning Inspectorate and the challenges that would be placed on it by developers.

Although the Knowle Society and the DDRA are not parish councils, Solihull MBC want them to be involved as this area is probably under the most pressure from developers. As new housing is developed so are the demands on services such as schools and doctors surgeries. Knowle Society and the DDRA will not be parties to the committee, due to the legalities around the grants process which should fully fund the planning organisation, but clearly our organisations are best placed to kick start the process of creating the committee. All of the councillors responsible for Knowle and Dorridge are supportive of this approach.

It is planned to hold drop in meetings at Knowle Library and Dorridge Station Waiting Room, platform 1, the latter on Saturday  6th December 2015 between 10am and 2pm, to ascertain the level of interest in later forming a Knowle and Dorridge Neighbourhood Plan committee. A joint meeting will then take place at Arden School on 7th January 2015 in the evening.

We look forward to meeting up with you on the Saturday 6th December 2014.

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