COUNCIL chiefs have drawn up a reserve list of potential housing sites to safeguard the district from opportunist developers.
But they have been quick to assure residents the chances of the reserve sites being built on was highly unlikely.
Stratford District Council’s core strategy planning document was adopted in 2016 outlining future development in the district until 2031.
And now the ‘Site Allocations Plan’ (SAP) has been put forward for consideration by the Conservative-run authority. It proposes some 70 sites across the district to provide a cushion for at least a fifth of the 14,600 homes included in the Core Strategy – to allow flexibility and protect against accusations the core strategy could become ‘outdated’ over the next 12 years.
The proposed reserve sites – which accommodate more than 3,000 homes – are intended to protect against housing shortfalls and from developers putting forward plans for ‘speculative’ sites.
The bigger reserve sites include along Banbury Road and Shipston Road in Stratford, others off Allimore Lane in Alcester and Victoria Road in Bidford, and the former Long Marston depot.
But district planning spokesman Coun Darren Pemberton emphasised it was unlikely the reserve sites would be needed.
He said: “As a district council we are obliged to do this piece of work, which needs a measured approach in line with the Core Strategy framework.
“Identifying reserve housing sites is critical to having a robust core strategy and underpins the allocated sites already identified. If those allocated sites are not delivered our five year housing land supply is threatened, potentially allowing speculative sites to come into play. The SAP puts an additional protection level in by identifying a range of sites rather than allow for a developer led approach in those circumstances.
“The reserve sites are just exactly that – there if they are needed and, as it stands, we have a robust five year housing land supply and a pipeline of allocated sites that mean there is no need for these sites to be considered. The SAP is another tool that keeps the council in control of the future management of housing development across the district.”
He also assured the sites were not going to simply be put forward when a new Core Strategy was drawn up in the future.
“The new core strategy will be entirely different. We don’t know where the shape of the economy in 2031 will be. We could have electric cars, more people working from home. The sites are not a starting point for the next core strategy.”
The plan also aims to safeguard areas integral to projects including improving the A46 and to preserve technology development sites including the Warwick University Wellesbourne campus and Quinton Railway Technology Centre in Wilmcote – a railway test track which recently tested the UK’s first hydrogen-fuelled train.
Visit www.democracy.stratford.gov.uk to view the SAP document.
If approved, residents will be able to comment on it from August 8 to September 20.
Residents can view the document at www.democracy.stratford.gov.uk by selecting July 15 on the calendar.
A number of sites have also been proposed to support self-build projects – something not included in the core strategy.
If the proposal is approved, it will be available for comment between August 8 and September 20.