Moves by the new coalition government to axe Regional Spatial Strategies will NOT stop plans to bring major new building projects for Brierley Hill according to Dudley Council’s Senior Planning Policy Officer Annette Roberts.
Proposals to increase the size of the Merry Hill Centre, create over 2000 new homes and bring offices and 10,000 jobs to the area had been embeded in the West Midlands Spatial Strategy – a planning document which guides development throughout the region.
But the new government feels that Spatial Strategies are too bureacratic and restrictive for local councils and have announced plans to abolish them. This has raised some concerns about the future of regeneration in Brierley Hill, the borough’s strategic centre.
Speaking to a meeting of Brierley Hill Town Centre Partnership Annette explained that although the regional strategy will disappear, all of the evidence which underpinned it – including the high priority to create new jobs and homes in the area – remains valid and retains the support of the four councils in the Black Country. The councils have produced a ‘Joint Core Strategy’ which sets out how they plan to work together to regenerate the area. The Joint Core Strategy is due to go to an examination in public in July and includes the designation of Brierley Hill as a strategic centre (together with the tests required to be passed before further major retail exapansion can take place).