Mipim 2018: Birmingham City Council to push up its housing target

Birmingham City Council intends to push up its housing target for the city from 51,000 to 58,000 homes between 2011 and 2031 as a result of recent initiatives to intensify development.

Waheed Nazir
Waheed Nazir

The Birmingham Development Plan, adopted in January 2017, proposes 89,000 new homes up to 2031, with 51,000 due to be delivered in the city, and the remainder in the other 13 authorities in the Greater Birmingham and Black Country Housing Market Area.

However, speaking to Planning today at the Mipim property conference in France, the city council’s corporate director for the economy Waheed Nazir said that the plan would be updated as part of the monitoring process next year.

"We’ve been quite bold on housing density," he said. "We now believe the city can deliver 58,000 homes, and next year will update the local plan to say this".

Nazir said that infrastructure investment facilitated by the West Midlands Combined Authority, including through the £350 million "housing deal" for the city region with the government announced yesterday, had helped enable the intensification.

He also said that the city council had "been challenging developers to deliver more density".

Densification has been a recurring theme at this year’s conference. Louise Wyman, general manager for engagement at government agency Homes England, yesterday told Planning that the agency was reviewing its major sites to see whether planned development was sufficiently intensive.

Meanwhile, the London Borough of Croydon is planning to be the first London borough to publish a strategic planning document setting out its approach to intensification in the borough.

Heather Cheesbrough, the borough’s director of planning and strategic transport, said that the document would go out to consultation in "late spring", and that she hoped it would be adopted by October.

She said the borough was considering including policies that would make it clear that densification schemes would need to fit in with areas’ predominant typologies. As an example, she said that the borough would encourage applicants for small blocks of less than ten flats to make their schemes look like large detached houses, with parking tucked away in the basement, if that was the predominant typology in the neighbourhood.

She also said that the borough would not feel rigidly constrained by existing public transport accessibility guidelines from allowing higher densities in certain places, not least because the mayor’s draft travel strategy and draft London Plan encourages a more flexible approach.

Planning for High Density Housing, a conference featuring speakers including London deputy mayor for housing James Murray, takes place in London on Tuesday 20 March. Click here for details.

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