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Brandhall Village

Welcome to the consultation webpage for Brandhall Village

Thank you for your interest and response to the recent public consultation on the masterplan options for Brandhall Village which took place from 1 to 28 November 2021.

Please download the letter which details the Councils next steps here.

We will be adding further FAQs to this webpage to respond to the queries raised during the consultation.

Brandhall Village - FAQs

What is Brandhall Village?

Our aspiration is that Brandhall Village will provide a large public park with a range of amenities, space for a primary school, new homes including affordable homes, pedestrian and cycle links and new areas for wildlife.

Who is developing the masterplan?

Sandwell Council has appointed AECOM, a multidisciplinary consultancy to develop a masterplan in consultation with the local community and stakeholders. AECOM will then work with Sandwell Council to develop an outline planning application for the site.

By developing a masterplan for Brandhall Village, working closely with the local community, we can set a clear vision for the site and use the masterplan as a tool to ensure that as future development comes forward, it aligns with the agreed development principles.

Who is the developer for the site?

At this stage, there are no developers on board.

However, we will test our masterplan with the market as it evolves to ensure that it is deliverable.

We are working to develop a masterplan which sets out our aspirational vision for Brandhall Village, which includes not only homes, but a large public park with a range of amenities, space for a primary school, pedestrian and cycle links and new areas for wildlife.

Should the development gain planning permission, the council would consider how best to deliver Brandhall Village.

What are the benefits of Brandhall Village to the local community?

Brandhall Village provides an opportunity to build much-needed homes, a brand-new public park, a school and local facilities. The park and facilities will be available to the existing community as well as residents of Brandhall Village.

How many new homes will be built at Brandhall Village?

As part of the masterplanning process, we're carefully considering the type and mix of homes that could be delivered at Brandhall Village. Once we know the type and mix of homes, and layout of the wider development, we will be able to estimate the number of homes that would be built.

What type of new homes would they be?

We envisage there could be a mix of tenures/ownerships on the site. Planning policy requires a minimum of 25% affordable housing. These could be affordable homes provided by registered providers of social housing, they could be council homes, or a mix of both.

Our aim is that Brandhall Village provides high quality housing that includes affordable homes, to meet the needs of current and future Sandwell residents.

To ensure the needs of local people are met, we are undertaking research on the local residential and wider development market in the early stages of our technical work.

How much and what percentage of the site do you envisage would be retained as green space after new homes and the school are built?

Feedback from the 2019 consultation favoured the option with the most open space. Therefore, we are proposing to retain approximately 25% of the site as formal open space. This is the same amount as was proposed in the 2019 consultation - 8.5 hectares (equivalent to 14 football pitches). We recognise that accessible open space will be a key part of Brandhall Village.

Has the plan for Brandhall Village been finalised?

No, we are at masterplan development stage and as part of this we are keen to hear residents' views. The masterplan will then be finalised and used as part of any subsequent planning application. 

The site has already been proposed for housing development in the draft Black Country Plan. What is the purpose of this consultation?

Although the site has been proposed for housing development in the draft Black Country Plan, there are still significant opportunities for the local community to influence the proposals. More information on the Black Country Plan can be found here.  

Our vision for Brandhall Village incorporates not only new homes, but a large publicly accessible park, and space for a new primary school.

This consultation offers the local community an opportunity to influence key aspects of the masterplan including how the new Village will look, and the kinds of open space and any community facilities provided within it.

 

Environment/open space

Why can't the whole site become a park?

We are aware of suggestions that the entire site should become an open space. Currently, the site is not fully accessible to the public, aside from two existing rights of way. This means local people are not able to make use of this disused golf course as they would other local parks.

We are proposing to create the first new public park in Sandwell's 47-year history, which requires significant investment, and will only be possible through the development of new homes. By bringing forward a mixed use for the site, we can deliver and maintain a park and associated amenities along with much needed affordable homes.

How will wildlife and trees on the site be protected?

We recognise how important the protection of local wildlife and habitats are to residents. As part of our work, we are committed to protecting the wildlife present on the site. Where possible, we will look to mitigate impacts, enhance existing habitats and create new habitats as part of this development.

We're currently undertaking a number of surveys on the site, and in the local area, to understand the wildlife and trees currently on the site so that this information can influence the layout of the masterplan.

The masterplan will show where trees are to be retained and where new trees should be planted. In accordance with planning policy, steps would need to be taken to mitigate the impact on any animals and birds using the site. Where possible, we will aim to enhance the landscape, including trees, as part of Brandhall Village.

How are you accounting for the wildlife on site?

We're currently undertaking a number of surveys on site to understand the wildlife present. These surveys are carried out by specialist ecologists in line with recognised standards and will inform the development of the masterplan and preparation of the Environmental Statement that we produce as part of the planning application.

How can I find the results of the surveys?

The results of surveys will be submitted as part of the planning application. All documents that form the Outline Planning Application will be publicly available once the application has been validated. The Planning Application, including an Environmental Statement, will be reviewed by independent specialists.

Would Parsons Hill Park be retained?

Some masterplan options retain Parsons Hill Park, in others it is developed and replaced within the new park. Feedback on this topic from stakeholders and the public is welcomed.

Why is Sandwell Council considering building on green space?

Brandhall Golf Course is currently classed as restricted because it is not fully accessible to the public. This means local people are not able to use this green space as they would other local parks. Now the golf course is formally closed, this provides an opportunity to consider opening part of the site to local people creating, a fully accessible public park. By doing this, we would be making green space more accessible in the community.

Why is Sandwell Council considering building houses on a greenfield site when there are brownfield sites available? What brownfield sites have been/are being considered for new homes? / How does this fit with West Midlands Combined Authority / Mayor's brownfield first commitment?

The council has a brownfield first policy, meaning that brownfield sites should be considered for development first. All large brownfield sites are already allocated for housing, meaning that housing development would be supported on these sites.

The issue with some of the brownfield sites is that they are not viable for homes because of land contamination. The council is working with the landowners of brownfield sites, where possible, to support them to bring the site forward for housing. The council is also working with partners to bring forward contaminated sites for housing development using grant funding from the West Midlands Combined Authority.

However, should the housing supply from all allocated sites be brought forward, which may not be possible, there would still be a shortfall in terms of the council's current targets for housing need. The development of greenfield sites does therefore need to be considered to meet this housing shortfall.

Has the council considered the flood risk on the site and how this could affect developing it for housing?

We recognise the concerns of the local community with regard to flooding in the local area and on the Brandhall Village site. If the site proceeds further, a Flood Risk Assessment and a Drainage Strategy that sets out any sustainable mitigation to potential flood risk would need to be developed.

Wouldn't a new park just encourage more anti-social behaviour?

We would ensure through the design, management and usage of the park that it provides the opportunity for people to engage in positive activities. We would work with our Anti-Social Behaviour teams to ensure that this has a positive impact on the local community.

 

Local facilities

What would happen to the existing Causeway Green Primary site if it gets replaced?

Should the school be relocated, and the existing school site become surplus, the council will look to develop an option appraisal for the future use of the site. In principle, housing would be considered appropriate as it is within a predominantly residential area, however, the vehicular access to the site would require further consideration.

What and where would extra school places be provided for children who will live at Brandhall Village?  

If planning approval for any residential development was granted, and the type of housing confirmed, the council would look at the number of potential school places that new homes might create. Over recent years, the council has expanded a number of local primary and secondary schools in response to a significant birth rate across the borough.

Demand for school places has eased with a fall in the latest birth rates, which will lead to a manageable surplus of places in schools that could accommodate any new demand following occupation of any new homes.

How will the council ensure that everybody has adequate access to local services (GPs etc)?

The council works with its partners, including the National Health Service at its regional level, to assess the potential levels of future demand for community services as a result of any redevelopment and compare it with the levels of existing provision. Any areas of potential shortfall of provision that are identified would then be a priority to be addressed by the partners.

Would the road network be redesigned/new roads be built to cope with extra traffic?

Our planning application would include a Transport Assessment to identify the impact on the surrounding highway network. This would include an estimate on the amounts of traffic that would be generated by each element of any redevelopment and at what times that traffic would likely travel (through past experience and using industry standard evaluation tools).

Existing base traffic levels would be collected through surveys and then the impact of any new additional traffic to the network would be modelled to assess what mitigation would be required to negate that impact. This could include junction improvements, new roads and junctions, improved pedestrian crossing facilities and other highway safety improvements, depending on the finding of the study.

 

Consultation and timescales

When will the public consultation be?

We will be collecting feedback from the public consultation throughout November and welcome the opportunity to hear your views.

Should a planning application be submitted, statutory public consultation would be undertaken by the Local Planning Authority. 

How will the views of the local community be taken into account?

Following the consultation, we'll review all the responses and use the feedback wherever possible to develop the final masterplan.

When will you submit the planning application?

We expect to submit an outline planning application in mid-to-late 2022.

When would building start?

It is too early at this stage to provide construction timescales. However, we will keep stakeholders and the local community updated as the project progresses.

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