Wolverhampton is Running Out of Brownfield Land – Ponders Green Belt Release

July Cabinet report on Black Country Strategy review

A Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) carried out for the Black Country and South Staffordshire concludes that the Black Country needs 78,190 new homes by 2036.
A commitment has been made to ‘test’ if the Black Country can accommodate a further 3,000 new homes to help address the 38,000 home shortfall idenitifed across the Birmingham and Black Country Housing Market Area (HMA) up to 2031. The HMA
covers the Black Country, Birmingham, Solihull, South Staffordshire, Cannock Chase, Lichfield, Tamworth and North Warwickshire.
The Black Country has enough housing land to meet existing housing targets up to 2026, and has a 5 year housing land supply. However, looking forward to 2036 and taking into account all potential sources of housing land in the urban area, there is an estimated shortfall of around 21,650 homes. This shortfall would increase if the Black Country were to contribute towards the HMA shortfall.
The only remaining sources of land which could address this shortfall are occupied employment land and green belt. If these sources of land cannot deliver enough new homes then there would be a need to look to ‘export’ to neighbouring authorities – in the first instance within the HMA.
A Black Country Employment Land Study has concluded that an extra 800ha of manufacturing and logistics land is needed up to 2036 to support economic growth in the Black Country. There is currently 300ha of employment land supply in the Black Country and land which may come forward in South Staffordshire is capable of providing 200ha towards meeting Black Country needs. This leaves a remaining requirement for 300ha of new employment land, with a focus on high quality, accessible sites capable of accommodating national investment requirements. All of this requirement will need to be accommodated in the green belt as there is no further suitable land available within the urban area.

Strategic Options
The Black Country authorities believe that the existing Core Strategy remains broadly fit for purpose and can accommodate the majority of long term growth needs, continuing the focus on urban regeneration. However, in light of the projected gaps between need and supply of housing and employment land, two strategic options have been developed.

The first option is to protect all remaining employment land and provide up to 300 ha of new employment land on green belt in the Black Country or neighbouring authorities to meet growth needs. All of the housing shortfall (21-650 – 24,650 homes) would need to be delivered in the green belt up to 2036 due to the dynamics of the housing market and the business models of the volume housebuilders, for example in north Birmingham the limit was considered to be 5,000 homes over 15 years.

The second option is to release more occupied employment land for housing during 2026-36 – 10,400 homes on 300 ha would be consistent with current Local Plan allocations for 2016-26. Up to 600 ha of employment land would then need to be provided in the green belt in the Black Country or neighbouring authorities to meet growth needs and replace employment land lost to housing. This option would require
significant additional external funding due to the costs of business relocation and remediating brownfield land.

 

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