Government Forces U-Turn: There Will Be A West Midlands Spatial Plan After All
In an abrupt policy about-turn, the West Midlands Combined Authority is to draw up a spatial strategy — something it had previously decided was not necessary.
The new Spatial Investment and Delivery Plan identifies 800 new sites for development and is due for completion by December.
Despite the U-turn there is still conflict with the government, according to minutes of key West Midlands Combined Authority meetings. The SIDP will be non-statutory, but the government is pressing for the adoption of a statutory plan like that being prepared by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham. Instead, West Midlands councils are arguing the statutory plans prepared by themselves should take priority.
A statutory plan would mean mostly Labour-controlled local councils lose some control, which is handed to the mayoral authority chaired by Conservative Andy Street.
The dispute is the latest in a continuing debate about handing planning powers, now controlled by councils, to the new mayoral authority.
Early work on the plan — due for completion before December — includes more than two dozen growth corridors and nodes. In Birmingham these include the city centre and Langley/Pedimore, along with Great Icknield and Smethwick, Perry Barr and the A34 Corridor, and the Eastern Growth Corridor.
A key aim is to deliver 215,000 new homes by 2031.