Planning Applications and how to comment on them…

Let’s be honest, the only time most of us have any dealings with planning is when the neighbours want to build and extension, or a new residential development is planned in the village.  Planning is a very sensitive issue – especially when we feel that our lives will be negatively affected.  It is worth mentioning that not all planning is ‘bad’ planning.

Below we highlight links to various documents which may help you to deal with planning matters.  If you are confused or concerned, it maybe that one or more of these documents will be able to help.  Don’t forget that you can always call the planning case officer and ask questions for clarification of points.  Should you wish to support or object to a planning application, make sure that you quote policy numbers from the Local Plan to support your stance, and be focused on your issues.

What is NOT material consideration:

Devaluation of property
Loss of private view
Breach of a restrictive covenant
Loss of business (from competition etc.)
Disturbance caused by construction
Who the applicant or intended occupant is

What IS material consideration:

Overlooking / loss of privacy
Loss of light / overshadowing
Effect on listed buildings and conservation areas
Highways safety
Layout and density of building
Design / appearance / materials
Government Policy
Disabled persons access
Previous planning decisions (including appeal decisions)
Nature Conservation

How to respond to Planning Applications: an 8 step guide – this is produced by Campaign to Protect Rural England and National Association of Local Councils.   It gives a clear guide as to what to comment on / what not to comment on and how to word your comments for best effect.

National Planning Policy Framework: sets out the Governments planning policies and how they are expected to be applied.  It provides the framework within which local people and their accountable councils can produce their own local and neighbourhood plans.

Do you need permission? What is permitted development?  These questions are clearly answered on the Planning Portal website.  On this website you can click on the interactive property – detached house / terrace / flat/shop and this takes you to a quick guide to permitted development.  On the right hand side of the page are links to common projects undertaken.

Calling all volunteers – we are giving Hockley Heath a Spring Clean! Friday 21st April 2017

Following last years November tidy, Hockley Heath Parish Council and Solihull Council are working together again to hold a one day local tidy up.

Friday 21st April 10am – 2pm

Meet at the Hockley Heath Recreation Ground car park, Old Warwick Road.

For further information, please call Maria Vernon on 07974 79 55 88 or email

All protective equipment and tools for the work will be provided.

Spotlight on GP Appointments – public meeting called

March 16 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Venue: Concert Room, Solihull Moors FC Stadium, Damson Park, Solihull, B92 9EJ

 Fed up with hearing that GP appointments are hard to come by? Come to a public meeting about the situation in Solihull.

Attendees to this open meeting will be able to hear views from informed speakers on the pressures facing local services, and to take part in the Access to GP Appointments in Solihull Survey, which has been created to review patients’ experiences of access to health services at their GP surgeries.

Speakers will include Tony Green from the Patient Participation Group Network and Dr Susan Harrower from Coventry Road Practice, Sheldon who will be answering questions about the ongoing issues facing GP services and their appointments systems.

Places are limited, so book one now using our booking form or call 0121 704 7861 between 10am-3pm, or email

And if you cannot attend, you can still contribute to the survey.

SMBC agrees budget for the next financial year

Solihull Council has agreed its budget for 2017/18, which includes an increase to council tax.

At the Full Council meeting on 1 March, councillors agreed a budget of £136.462 million. The Band D council tax figure, excluding police, fire and parish precepts, will be £1,269.13. This comprises £1,209.40 for general council tax and £59.73 for adult social care.

In total, council tax will increase by 4.99% which incorporates a 3% increase to fund adult social care.

The Council also approved a Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) and efficiency plan up to 2020, which is designed to ensure that Council priorities continue to be met against anticipated continual financial constraints. The strategy outlines the Council’s commitment to ensuring resources will be focussed towards services which contribute most to improving outcomes for local people.

Councillor Bob Sleigh OBE, Leader of the Council, said:

“Along with the rest of the public sector, we face a massive challenge over the next few years to deliver public services with a much lower level of funding than previously. This is particularly the case for adult social care with an increasing demand for services.

“However, these are also exciting times for Solihull, with managed growth in the borough’s economy increasing the income we generate locally. This includes participating in a pilot for full business rates retention from April 2017, as part of our involvement in the West Midlands Combined Authority.

“Our priority as a council is to improve and enrich our residents’ lives and to continue to provide essential services at a consistently high standard. We are committed to make the best use of our resources by aligning them to the needs of the people of Solihull.”

Bogus Traders operating in the area.

We have received intelligence that there are rogue home and garden maintenance traders operating in Solihull claiming to be limited companies and often producing leaflets that make them look like credible businesses.

We do not recommend accepting services from companies who conduct door to door sales pitches without establishing that they are legitimate companies and where possible are recommended to you.

You can check the legitimacy of a Ltd company via this link  ​ You will be able to determine whether the Ltd company exists at all or if it is dissolved.

Some rogue traders find dissolved company names to trade with giving unsuspecting residents a perceived belief that the company is legitimate.

Please share this message to help protect your elderley and vulnerable neighbours.

Kind Regards

Solihull Police

Black Audi SQ5 of interest to police

Good afternoon,

Following the recent spike in Burglaries in the Hockley Heath area, a vehicle has become of interest to Police.

A black Audi SQ5 has been seen acting suspiciously in the area, with the occupants witnessed looking into windows of properties.

This vehicle has been seen on multiple occasions in the area with the same occupants but baring a number of different registraion plates, which are believed to have been cloned.

Be on the look out for this vehicle and if seen, please call Police on 101, or if a crime is being committed, call 999.

Remain safe, do not approach the vehicle and do not put yourself in a compromising position

Sisters are doing IT for themsleves!

A basement in inner-city Birmingham is not the place you’d expect to find nuns running a hugely successful computer club but, thanks in part to West Midlands PCC, Sisters Mary and Marie are doing exactly that.

In the depths of the St Francis Centre in Lozells, the nuns run Conscious Café, hosting weekly computer classes for women.

Led by tutor Paula Sawyers, the sessions are mainly attended by women in their 60s and 70s from all walks of life who want to break down technological and cultural barriers – as well as making new friends over a cuppa and a cake and boosting their confidence.

Sisters Marie McGrogan and Mary Horgan applied for cash from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Active Citizens Fund, which sees criminals’ ill-gotten gains ploughed back into the community for good. They received £1,500 and were able to buy four new laptops for the club, which currently has 20 women taking part in the classes.

Sister Marie said: “When the women first arrive, they are often so nervous and shy but it is wonderful to see their skills and confidence blossom.

“The classes help in so many ways: on a practical level, obviously there’s the computer skills and the ladies learn about word processing, paying bills online or Skyping their family and friends in other countries.

“But then there’s the other side of things: they become more confident, their self-esteem improves, it gets them thinking again and they make new friends and build up a new support system.

“We have a comments book and some of the statements are so wonderful to read. Examples include ‘I feel 40 years younger’, ‘the laptops have opened up a new world to me’ and, my favourite, ‘you’ve brought us back to life’.

“We are so grateful to the Police and Crime Commissioner for this funding and would encourage other community groups to make the most of the Active Citizens Fund.”

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “The Conscious Café is doing exceptional work supporting these women and giving them new skills and renewed confidence.

“It is wonderful to see cash being taken from criminals and redistributed within the community for good causes such as these. This money really does help our active citizens make a difference.

“Projects such as the Conscious Cafe do immeasurable good within the community and I am delighted to be able to support it via my Active Citizens Fund.”

Perry Barr Inspector Noeleen Murrin added: “Active Citizens is a brilliant initiative and projects such as these are the way forward.

“Active Citizens empowers communities and allows them to make positive changes. I am extremely proud of it.”

For more information on Active Citizens and how to apply for funding, click here.