Revocation of West Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy
The Secretary of State has announced the Government's decision to revoke the Regional Strategy for the West Midlands and an Order is expected to be laid shortly. In relation to the Halesowen and Stourbridge Area Action Plans and their imminent Examinations in Public the Inspector does not wish to impose unnecessary delay upon the examinations. However, it is necessary to allow parties a reasonable opportunity to comment on any policies which parties feel may be affected.
If you wish to make a representation that you consider will be affected by the revocation please respond to the Programme Officer by Wednesday 1st May 2013. There is further information available on the main examination webpage.
The Council’s current Adopted 2005 Unitary Development Plan (UDP) contains policies and proposals that set the context for the physical development of land in the Borough, and includes a chapter for Halesowen Town Centre.
The policies in the Adopted 2005 UDP need to be updated. Given this, there is a need to produce a new planning policy document for Halesowen Town Centre for 2013 onwards. Producing an Area Action Plan (AAP) for Halesowen Town Centre is considered the best way of doing this.
The Halesowen AAP will be a planning policy document against which decisions on planning applications will be made for the period late 2013 to 2026. As part of the Council’s ‘Local Development Framework’, it will consider such issues as:
What new development is needed and where this should happen.
Which areas need regenerating, and which need to be conserved.
Where the primary shopping area (formerly retail core) of the Town Centre is, thereby guiding retail and non-retail development to appropriate locations.
What principles should guide new development, particularly in terms of urban design.
Whether any new infrastructure is needed to service the Town Centre, or the new development planned within it, such as public spaces, streets or green infrastructure.
Although this document will be focused on ‘spatial planning’ and ‘land use’ issues, it will be prepared having regard to the various other complementary initiatives operating in the town such as the Community Renewal Plan and the Halesowen Public Realm Study.
Key stages and anticipated timescales for the production of the Halesowen AAP are:
Commencement (September 2009 on) – this will include information and evidence gathering, and preparation of an ‘Options’ document setting out a number of policy options for Halesowen Town Centre.
Public Consultation (July to September 2010) – a formal six week consultation exercise on the ‘Options’ stage consultation document. Results from this exercise will influence the content of the Halesowen AAP itself.
Public Consultation (January to February 2012) – a second round of formal consultation (six weeks) on the subsequent Halesowen AAP ‘Preferred Options’ document. This 'Preferred Options' stage consultation document is informed by, builds on, and refines the 2010 'Options' stage. Results from this exercise will again influence the content of the Halesowen AAP itself.
Publication (November to December 2012) – The Halesowen AAP and supporting documents need to be published and made subject to a further formal six week consultation period, during which representations relating to the document’s ‘soundness’ and that it complies with legal requirements can be made - these representations subsequently being considered at public examination (see below). To be ‘sound’ the Halesowen AAP needs to be justified, effective, and consistent with national policy.
Submission (February 2013) – the Halesowen AAP will be submitted to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for its subsequent public examination in front of an independent planning inspector.
Public Examination (May 2013) – Carried out to enable the independent planning inspector to assess the Halesowen AAP in terms of:
Adoption (November 2013) – The Council receives the planning inspector’s binding report and makes any necessary changes to the Halesowen AAP. Full Council approval is then required to adopt the document – whereupon it supersedes the Halesowen chapter of the Dudley Adopted 2005 Unitary Development Plan.
Halesowen Area Action Plan – Submission Stage
Dudley Council has prepared a final publication draft of the Area Action Plan (AAP) for Halesowen which will set out how the Town Centre will develop up to 2026. It will guide new investment into Halesowen Town Centre and will set out where new shops and other appropriate town centre proposals should be located.
The Halesowen AAP ‘Publication Stage’ consultation document (November 2012) proposes a vision, objectives and detailed spatial strategy for future development in Halesowen Town Centre up to 2026, including some potential development opportunity areas to help stimulate regeneration within the town. The Publication document is informed by, builds on, and refines the previous 2010 'Options' stage and 2012 ‘Preferred Options’ consultation.
The Halesowen Area Action Plan ‘Publication Stage’ document is available below, and supporting documents including the Sustainability Appraisal and Consultation Statement can be found on accompanying pages of this website:
Please note that a large font 'accessible version' can be selected on the above consultation portal (online link), and alternatively that a zoom function can be used (using your computer mouse wheel) to enlarge images and text.
The Halesowen AAP ‘Publication Stage’ document (November 2012) was subjected to 6 weeks public consultation from 9th November to 21st December 2012, during which time key stakeholders and the public were invited to make representations on the document’s ‘legal compliance’ and ‘soundness’ – please see the Halesowen AAP ‘Consultation Feedback’ web page for further information.
Following the Publication Stage consultation, Dudley Council has produced a set of proposed modifications for the Inspector to consider at the Halesowen AAP’s Examination. A table entitled ‘Proposed Modifications to the Halesowen AAP Publication Document (January 2013)’ can be found in the Halesowen Specific Evidence section of the Halesowen AAP ‘Evidence Base’ web page, and is additionally available to download at the bottom of this page.
Following the above, the Halesowen Area Action Plan was submitted to the Secretary of State on the 8th of February 2013 for its subsequent independent examination. It is likely that this examination will take place during May 2013, although this has yet to be confirmed by the Government’s Planning Inspectorate.
The Examination in Public will be carried out to enable the independent planning inspector to assess the Halesowen AAP in terms of its compliance with legal requirements and whether or not the document is considered to be ‘sound’. To be ‘sound’ the Halesowen AAP needs to be justified, effective, and consistent with national policy.
Please let us know if you would like to be informed when the date for the Halesowen AAP’s examination has been set, when the results of that examination are published and or when the AAP is finally adopted by Dudley Council – please include your details so that we can contact you.