A sprawling housing development on a section of former Birmingham Green Belt land has gone a step further, nearly five years after proposals to release a portion of the Green Belt land were put forward.
The Langley Sutton Coldfield Consortium – a group of developers and landlords – has submitted an outline planning application for permission to build 5,500 homes at the Langley site neighboring Wolmley in Sutton Coldfield.
Nearly five years after Birmingham City Council adopted its Birmingham Development Plan, the city’s green area was released for development.
read more: Major shopping center to be ‘redeveloped’, says outgoing tenant
This is the initial stage of the planning process which, if granted, would lead to individual applications detailing the exact homes, shops, schools, medical centers and leisure facilities on land up to the A38 dual carriageway on the eastern side of Sutton.
Notably, the new development will primarily be made up of family homes – with 40 to 50 percent being three-bed, and 25 to 35 percent four-bed or with the remaining one- or two-bed homes. There are proposals for two parking spaces per household.
Thousands of ‘affordable’ family homes
More than a third of those homes, some 35 percent, would be ‘affordable’, with four percent for ‘social rent’, six percent for ‘affordable rent’ and 25 percent for ‘affordable ownership’ .
Importantly, these affordable homes would coincide with private sales – clerk David Barry (Wolmley and Minworth) said that ‘there would be no ghettoes here’. Fellow Valmali councilor called him ‘the blind of tenure’.
He said: “In a perfect world you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between private homes and affordable homes.”
Outline application is a comprehensive plan that ties development together to ensure a cohesive approach for individual applications to follow.
The Langley consortium is made up of various interests ranging from house builders, Taylor Wimpey, Wistry and William Davis to landlords, Home England and Rubery Owen Holdings and the land promoter, Norton Developments. All of them have entered into a ‘cooperation agreement’ to work together.
The proposal involves demolishing many of the existing buildings on the ground, ranging from semi-detached homes east of Springfield Road to agricultural buildings including a barn attached to Springfield and Langley Gorse Farms. Buildings east of Langley Hall are also included.
A massive 132 kV overhead power line will be diverted underground, with the existing pylons removed and new ones installed.
read more: Sprint bus plans to Sutton Coldfield put on hold for three years
Four schools, six parks and three ‘centres’
5,500 homes, roads, parks and buildings are to be prepared for their service.
The new development will have a district center with two local centers – one in the north and one in the south.
The proposals detail 400 locations with one secondary school for 1,400 pupils, a sixth form for 300 pupils, and three primary schools for 1,950 pupils, as well as six nursery or early years units.
In fact each year there will be nine new forms for the group – three each in primary and nine in secondary.
There are plans to center the secondary school, called ‘Langley Central’ – with a primary, to the north and south, and a primary.
Community facilities will include pubs, restaurants, shops, sports and leisure facilities, including a sports center with natural and artificial pitches and a pavilion attached to the secondary school. There will also be community and medical buildings with GP surgeries along with space for eight GPs. And office space too.
The development will be served by an ‘internal transport network’ of roads, cycle routes and footpaths, with two new junctions on the A38. One is currently being built 400 meters north of Minworth Island to serve Langley, a neighboring Pedimore Industrial Park.
read more: Aldi introduces new store plan, current store ‘not viable’
There will be six ‘character’ fields; Langley – Five parks with Brook, Hall, Central, Penn, Heath & Field, and Fox Hollys Wood.
The proposals give a timeline of work starting in 2023 next year and an overall completion date of ‘around 2040’. But Clare Wood felt that growth could continue for a long period of time and the market would be subject to the volatility, bounce and downturns that could occur during it. He added: “We’re looking at 20 to 25 years of construction.”
But many questions remain about development, including the crucial one where it will begin.
What have the politicians said?
Clare Barry said: “The vast majority of this is not known at all. Little detail is already available in the 303 documents accompanying the application.
“The residents are asking a lot of questions which remain unanswered.
“‘Where is the building going to start?’, ‘How is the phased arrangement being done – from building houses to schools and medical facilities?’. How will the sprint buses get people to Sutton Coldfield Town Center?
“Those are things that are going to follow later. It’s the very first step.
“This is now a formal consultation. This is a comprehensive development that will take a long time to complete. The role of the Advisory Group is going to continue for a long time to come. We are committed to making the best of it.”
read more: Langley housing scheme delayed, downsized and will take 16 years
Whereas Clare Wood said: “What will happen first will be in some infrastructure. Now there is a roundabout way for Pedimore and this will be an inspiration for Langley.
“But the actual details will come when we receive individual applications.
“We want to have as little construction traffic on Webster Way and Springfield Road as possible.
“Birmingham City Council decided on that on affordable homes and I think it’s great. A lot of people grew up in Sutton Coldfield but had to move out, they would be able to come back.
“Developers are trying to cater to all needs from family homes to apartments in the centre.
“Outline Applications will prevent individual developers from building a little bit of their own. It ties it all together.
“This is a massive development. It will be a legacy development. We are prepared to make sure it will be the best that we can make.”
“The input from our advisory group has been phenomenal so far. Holmes England has been receptive.
“We’ll go out of the way to make sure it’s exemplary.”
While the campaigner became councilor and MP on her Project Fields Facebook page, Suzanne Webb said: “The proposal on paper is painful to read – some properties were demolished, overhead power lines were grounded, the scale of the development and some Infrastructure proposed. The scale and details of strategic highway points.
“Hold on tight because this is going to be a painful process as the area around us becomes a construction site once the outline planning application is approved.
“After this, there will be individual planning applications for each development.”
The Langley Development Outline Planning application can be found at Birmingham City Council planning portal Under the numbers: 2021/10567/PA and the public consultation continues till February 3.
Get the latest Sutton Coldfield news straight to your inbox via our daily newsletter.