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Our view on the future of South Staffordshire

14th December 2021

CPRE has urged planners in South Staffordshire not to accept too much housing overspill from the Black Country, especially when the level of housing need has yet to be established.

In our response to the council’s Local Plan Preferred Options consultation this month, we caution that more greenfield and especially Green Belt land is being allocated for new housing than is necessary. We are especially concerned that the ‘exceptional circumstances’ test for the deletion of Green Belt land does not appear to be made out.

Most councils, including South Staffordshire, have accepted the use of the Government’s ‘New Standard Method’ to decide housing requirements. However, the proposed allocations are well in excess of what is required to meet the numbers from this method, for reasons that do not appear to be clearly explained in the document. This is likely to lead to unnecessary development, mainly in the Green Belt but also outside it (for example at Penkridge and Stafford).

We therefore strongly advocate that the allocations to provide for South Staffordshire’s needs should be separated from the allocations for the Black Country councils. Brownfield sites and other sites in the Black Country should be developed before Green Belt and greenfield sites in South Staffordshire and that this should be covered in a Memorandum of Understanding with the Black Country authorities.