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  • Gareth Jones

‘Backland’ success in Bromsgrove

After a long drawn out engagement with Bromsgrove District Council, Tyler Parkes have obtained detailed planning permission for their clients, Kingswood Homes (West Midlands) Ltd., for 6 new houses on a ‘backland’ site in Marlbrook, near Bromsgrove.

The site comprises an existing dwelling on Birmingham Road, together with a substantial part of its extensive rear garden and part of the adjoining rear garden. It is surrounded by existing residential development of a mixed density and character, with several cul-de-sac developments.

Pre-application advice had been sought from the Council in 2015, but the response was that the proposal would conflict with the policies of the then operative 2004 Local Plan which presumed against proposals for housing on backland sites which it considered would be detrimental to the character, traditional pattern or amenity of the location. The planners at that time concluded that the proposal could not be supported for these reasons; accordingly, our Client chose to shelve the proposal.

However, in 2017 a replacement Local Plan was adopted, with a new, and slightly differently worded policy which now said that development of garden land will be resisted unless it fully integrated into the residential area and is in keeping with the character and quality of the local environment.

In 2018 the housing proposal was resurrected and reviewed, and it was concluded that a strong case could now be demonstrated to show that the scheme would integrate into the residential area and be in keeping with local character; the fact that the Council could no longer demonstrate a required 5 year housing land supply was also helpful.

Accordingly a planning application for 7 dwellings was submitted in December 2018; in response the planning officer helpfully indicated that there was no longer an objection in principle to a scheme, but the application could not be supported due to concerns over the number and density of dwellings proposed, the relationship of some of the proposed plots to neighbouring houses, and the ‘mix’ of properties.

Having thus established that the principle of development was considered acceptable, the application was withdrawn and after positive engagement with the planner, a revised planning application was submitted in April 2019. This scheme reduced the number of properties to 6, re-configured the design and layout to improve the relationships with those nearby properties, and introduced some smaller properties to address the issues of density and mix. By now the Council’s required 5 year housing land supply had reduced further and they were only able to demonstrate 3.45 years.

This time technical concerns over trees and highways were raised but dealt with successfully. Unfortunately the delay in responses from the Highways Authority led to a significant delay in the progress of the application, which was finally reported to the meeting of the Planning Committee on October 7th, with a recommendation for approval.

However, as with the first application, the proposal had attracted a lot of local opposition from neighbours and a local ward member who made representations to the Committee. The objections were rebutted in a presentation to the Committee by Gareth Jones, Tyler Parkes’ Director. Gareth stressed the point that if the Council could not approve schemes such as this, which are acceptable in all planning respects, how could they possibly address their significant 5 year housing land supply deficit and hope to prevent the future release of Green Belt sites through the plan review process?

The Committee rejected the objections and granted detailed planning permission for the scheme.


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