The Parish Council met on 21st February 2019 and agreed the following response to the consultation:
Q19. Do you agree with the infrastructure requirements identified for Hockley Heath, if not why not, or do you believe there are any other matters that should be included?
The infrastructure within Hockley Heath is not sufficiently capable of supporting a development of this size; 100 homes is a 12% increase (approximately).
Paragraph 189 (p37) refers to regular bus services connecting Stratford-upon-Avon and Birmingham. This is not the case, the X20 service terminates at Shirley and does not serve Birmingham. TfWM, following a consultation, has changed the bus service route and as such the service from Hockley Heath to Solihull and Dorridge station is effectively reduced to an hourly service due to timetabling, irrespective of this being a circular route. Access to rail services is limited; over 2 miles away.
Hockley Heath does not have a large range of shops and there are no medical facilities (Doctors or Pharmacy) within the Village.
The local primary school does not have the capacity to accommodate the potential numbers of children from 100-150 properties (should sites 49 and 328 also be released from the green belt).
The NP survey, published in June 2018, had 87% of respondents indicating it was very important for highway changes to School Road to prevent excessive vehicle use arising from additional Blythe Valley Park development (it was accepted that this will be used as a short-cut). This finding was in advance of any consultation associated with the release of green belt land on School Road. The A3400 is used as a diversion for both the M40 and M42 and as such Hockley Heath experiences frequent congestion along the A3400 and connecting routes, with School Road being used to bypass congestion on the A3400.
Hockley Heath, and specifically the A3400, suffers from regular ponding following even moderate sustained rainfall. HHPC is engaging with Severn Trent Water and SMBC Highways to identify improvement works across the entire system (from storm drains to river outlet) but there is clear evidence that the drainage infrastructure in the Village is struggling.
There are pockets of Hockley Heath which still do not have access to “super fast” broadband and there have been reports from residents of poor water pressure in areas of the Village.
Q20. Do you believe that Site 25 land south of School Road should be included as an allocated site, if not why not? Do you have any comments on the draft concept masterplan for the site?
Hockley Heath Parish Council do not believe that Site 25 should be included as an allocated site.
School Road is a minor road and experiences congestion around the school. Local residents frequently inform the Parish Council of excessive speeding and safety concerns. In respect of suggestions that any future development could improve Hockley Heath Academy drop off and collections, we would point out that the development is on the other side of the busy School Road and we do not accept that the risks associated with additional children crossing the road offset the negative aspects of the release of the land. The existing volume and speed of traffic will be further impacted by BVP. School Road is also prone to flooding which has not been addressed within the draft consultation documentation. The road also lacks a footpath at the location of the proposed site 25 development.
In the Summer of 2018 the Parish Council ran a survey across the village in support of the Neighbourhood Plan. The survey received an excellent response rate for a survey of this type (50% of the village responded) and its findings will form a key element of the forthcoming Neighbourhood Plan. Our response to this consultation should be viewed as being informed by representative data from the village as a whole. The survey found:
a) 87% of respondents indicated it was very important for highway changes to School Road to prevent excessive vehicle use arising from additional Blythe Valley Park development. This finding was in advance of any consultation associated with the release of green belt land on School Road and potential housing.
b) the top priority in terms of the natural environment was to protect the views of green belt land and green spaces from inappropriate development (92% of residents).
c) 69% of residents felt that School Road should be protected from development (the highest response).
The draft concept masterplan for the site indicates a density of housing out of proportion to the village as whole.
Q21. Do you have any comments to make on potential changes to the Green Belt boundary north of School Road that would result in the removal of the ‘washed over’ Green Belt from this ribbon of development?
HHPC does not support the potential changes to the Green Belt boundary and would be very concerned if the release of Site 25 (circa 100 units) also led to the release of additional ‘washed over’ sites with a potential further 50 dwellings being built on School Road in the future. It would have been helpful had the consultation document detailed the existing green belt boundary and the proposed new green belt boundary.