West Bromwich area action plan
Preferred options stage consultation
The Local Development Scheme (LDS) for Sandwell was published in June 2005 with a recent revision taking place in 2008. Contained within the LDS is the West Bromwich Area Action Plan (AAP). This concentrates on the development and regeneration of the core of the town centre and its immediate catchment area. Consultation began on the AAP during 2006 with the publication of an Issues and Options Paper in June.
The Issues and Options Paper was distributed to statutory and non-statutory consultees and presentations were made to Councillors, Town Team Partnerships and West Bromwich Town Committee on the various options available for consideration for the regeneration of this area. The outcome of this consultation, together with partnership working with other agencies in the area, has resulted in the preparation of a Preferred Options Document and a Sustainability Appraisal Report and Appendicies, which assesses the social, environmental and economic effects of the proposals.
The aims of the Preferred Options Document is to provide, through formal public participation, the opportunity for people to comment on how the local planning authority is approaching the preparation of the AAP and to ensure that the Authority is aware of all possible options before it prepares the submission document that will go forward to the Secretary of State for Examination.
This Document has been prepared in line with National, Regional and Local Planning Policy and within the Regulations set out by Central Government. It has also considered a range of issues which need to be factored into the proposals including the need for developing a strong commercial town centre core, good quality housing, retention of appropriate employment sites, provision of schools, health and community facilities, the need for open space, good transport links and the retention and enhancement of the heritage afforded to this particular area.
The Preferred Options have also been drawn up with reference to the various regeneration initiatives and visions of the Local Strategic Partnership, Urban Regeneration Company, Regenco, the Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder and Greets Green Partnership, to ensure that the aspirations of all these agencies are brought forward in a deliverable statutory plan.
The West Bromwich AAP relates to West Bromwich Town Centre and it's immediate residential catchment area. A strategy for growth has been pursued for a number of years, which has proved successful in attracting significant levels of public investment and planned private sector investment. The challenge now facing the town is to build on the success of this strategy and continue its structured expansion in a planned and co-ordinated manner to fulfil its expected role as one of four strategic centres in the Black Country . This will require a further expansion of the core area of the town and in some locations a bold new approach to the re-ordering of land uses.
A holistic approach has been taken to address the issues and programmes of all key stakeholders. The framework enables the AAP area to be viewed comprehensively and to understand its relationship with the rest of the Borough and sub region. The Strategic Framework seeks to strengthen West Bromwich Town Centre as the principal centre of Sandwell and as a strategic centre for growth within the sub-region.
A significant number of large-scale developments in the Town Centre are anticipated in the plan period. It is important that these are considered within an overall development framework to recognise potential linkages between them and the benefits, opportunities and improvements, including new infrastructure, which can be achieved.
The creation of a diverse town centre with a range of high quality retail, leisure, and community facilities, with access to employment opportunities will provide a more attractive destination. As such West Bromwich will continue to provide the key focus within the Borough for major new development associated with town centres as defined in PPS6.
Accordingly the preferred options document identifies a number of key elements:
A preferred boundary for an expanded commercial core for town centre uses, such as retail, leisure and cultural uses;
A consolidated Primary Shopping Area to accommodate 65,000 sq m of additional floorspace (including existing commitments) up to 2026;
Significant opportunities to deliver new high quality employment opportunities centred around a new office sector;
Significant new housing opportunities to promote town centre living and through the transfer of poor quality employment land over to housing;
Emphasis on changing the perception of the area through raising standards in design and public realm;
A balanced transportation strategy that promotes walking, cycling and public transport and provides the necessary improvements to infrastructure to deliver the level of growth identified.
A key function of the AAP process is around delivery and implementation and therefore at this stage the Preferred Options Document seeks to establish a number of key principles in relation to how the transformation of the town centre should be undertaken. As we move forward with the emerging AAP there will be a need to establish a delivery programme that will choreograph development and thereby maintain the continued operation of the centre as it undergoes a prolonged period of substantial regeneration.
It is proposed to undertake a six-week consultation on the Preferred Options Document commencing on 23rd June 2008 until 4th August 2008. Following consultation, representations will be considered and the AAP Submission Document prepared by March 2009. It will be submitted to the Secretary of State for formal examination by an independent Inspector. A further report will be submitted early next year prior to the Submission Document being published for consultation.