The Portfolio Holder for Planning and Regulatory Services began by encouraging all Cabinet Members and Members watching to share the document as he believed it was a stunning document which was an advert for the Worcestershire Countryside and what this Council had in Bromsgrove in particular.
The Strategic Planning and Conservation Manager presented the report and credited his Team for all their hard work in preparing it. It was explained that this version was similar to that brought before Cabinet some 18 months ago and that whilst this Council did not own the conservation area it would continue to work with those who do. The purpose of the report was to report back on the initial consultation carried out. Responses were limited due to there not being many residents within the area. The relevant parish councils had also been spoken to, but as detailed in appendix 2 to the report. The majority of responses were from the Canals and Rivers Trust and the Canal Society and were therefore quite technical. However, a number of events, pre Covid-19, were held and the responses from these were also included in the report.
All comments had been taken onboard and included within the final document before Members this evening. The process going forward was for the document to become a material planning consideration at Planning Committee, so carried some weight and would be used for any planning applications which arose in and around the conservation area. It also provided a position in terms of the planning review going forward, in relation to the conservation area setting and likely impact of that. It was highlighted that significant amounts of land had been put forward for development in the surrounding area and this provided an evidence base to move forward in assessing those.
It was suggested that the level of evidence in the report was something which should be used in the promotion of the District and a leaflet was being prepared to promote the tourism aspect, which would sit alongside this document without the more technical areas being included so it could be used as a marketing tool. This would be circulated in due course and prepared in time for when the current restrictions begin to ease.
The Portfolio Holder for Planning and Regulatory Services praised the document and again reiterated that it was a testament to what was available in the countryside and asked the Strategic Planning and Conservation Manager to provide all Councillors with a link to the document as it was really important to recognise the huge amount of work which had gone into its preparation. There was some really useful information within it, including key points of interest.
The Leader agreed that it was a marketing opportunity to promote the best of the District and reiterated the thanks to officers for an excellent piece of work. This was supported by all Cabinet Members.
RESOLVED that the Worcester and Birmingham Canal Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan and its contents be endorsed and approved as a material consideration for planning purposes.