MPC hosts Cllr Ian Courts: Solihull is open for business
Earlier this week, MPC hosted Cllr Courts, Leader of Solihull Council, at a roundtable breakfast event, alongside a range of developers who are working in the area. Discussions covered a wide variety of issues currently facing the Borough; progress of the Local Plan; the social and economic opportunities afforded by HS2; and the ever-present spectre of Green Belt release.
At the heart of Cllr Courts aims for Solihull is to ensure that the Borough maintains its positive economic outlook, especially given that Solihull Borough is one of few authorities in the region which delivers a positive return for the Exchequer.
However, in addition to making the most of opportunities provided by new developments and wider infrastructure improvements, it is also evident that a greater focus is being placed on tackling climate change within Solihull, and that new developments are seen as being able to play a leading role in this by increasing the provision of green infrastructure. Discussions also focussed on the benefits that ‘place-making’ improvements in greener housing developments could bring to existing and future residents, and how projects such as Solihull’s ‘Wildlife Ways’ initiative, which has seen 90km of walkways and cycle ways in the Borough become ‘greener’, could be replicated.
Design was – as expected – a hot topic. How can the overall quality of development in Solihull, including the design and types of new homes, be improved, particularly given the quantity of executive homes within Solihull? It was evident that there is a desire to see a broader range of housing in the authority, including additional starter homes which would maximise the opportunity for people to get on the housing ladder.
On HS2, there’s clearly a desire to maximise the economic benefits of this important piece of infrastructure, but also a view that economic improvements in the Borough should not be seen as contingent on the delivery of HS2.
The resounding message from Cllr Courts is that Solihull is an area which is open for business. It was clear that there is a focus on making the most of new housing and infrastructure development to continue to grow the wealth, prosperity and prospects of its residents.
George Beard - Associate Director