The Proposed Redevelopment of Selly Oak Junction, Worcester Birmingham and Dudley No 2 Canals
To enable this site to be developed J Sainsbury’s and Land Securities have set up a joint development company known as Harvest. During March Harvest submitted a planning application to develop the former Selly Oak Junction and the land surrounding it, primarily to create a superstore and a Life Sciences Park.
The scheme that has been submitted to the Planning Authority, Birmingham City Council, does not include the reinstatement, or provision of adequate suitable space there for, of the Dudley No 2 Canal. This, as well as being contrary to City planning policy, would permanently block the route of the former canal that Lapal Canal Trust has been working on to secure its restoration. Furthermore, the proposals do little to enhance the present unattractive rundown waterway corridor.
Waterways supporters are therefore encourage to object to the proposals, which can be found on the Birmingham Planning Website, click on Planning Application Number Search and key in reference 2013/02178/PA, pointing out that the application is flawed because it does not meet many of the criteria identified in the Selly Oak Local Action Plan (LAP) adopted in July 2001 as requirements for the regeneration of the Selly Oak area of Birmingham as follows:
The LAP states
- “Any new development in this area should also assist with the future reinstatement of the former Dudley No 2 (Lapal) Canal. New development should also be designed so that it is well related to the existing Worcester & Birmingham Canal and the reinstated Dudley No 2 Canal The proposal clearly does not meet that since the ‘protected line’ of the Lapal Canal is proposed to be a green walkway.
- “British Waterways and the City Council are now committed to working together to ensure the continued renaissance of the canal network as an integral part of the City’s economic, social and environmental well-being.” The LAP also states that Selly Oak is noted to be a stage 1 priority area for this
The proposal clearly goes against that commitment since the un-restored Lapal Canal is not planned to be an integral part the ‘canal network’ and the canal side proposals for the Worcester Birmingham Canal corridor include a linear high rise student apartment block that blocks out much light will make the area unwelcoming.
- referring to the former PPG13 it includes the statement: that development proposals should not adversely affect inland waterways” Clearly, the submitted proposal does adversely affect inland waterways since it does not allow for an inland waterway to be restored and adversely affect the setting of the Worcester and Birmingham Canal
- With reference to the Lapal Canal it states that; Meanwhile, development should restore the section between the Worcester and Birmingham Canal and Selly Oak Park, and the option of restoring the remainder of the canal kept open and Birmingham Canal and Selly Oak Park, and the option of restoring the remainder of the canal kept open Clearly the proposal does not allow for the restoration of the Lapal Canal
- The former PPG13 (now absorbed into the National Planning Policy Framework) also states: “local authorities should identify, and where appropriate protect, disused waterways (by allocating land in development plans and ensuring sites and routes are not severed by new development or transport infrastructure), where there is a reasonable degree of certainty of a restoration project proceeding in whole or in part within the plan period.” Clearly, the proposal does not protect the disused Lapal Canal
- J Sainsbury has declared that it operates to certain Values which include the following and which (superficially) run counter to the proposal that has been submitted:
(a) For us, retailing is about more than quality products and great service. It’s also about supporting and helping the communities where we work, and being a good neighbour. We aim for our stores to be at the heart of the communities they serve.
(b) At Sainsbury’s, respecting the environment is about doing the right thing. We aim to be the UK’s greenest grocer, which is great for our business but even better for the environment.
- The National Planning Policy Framework, issued in March 2012 includes the following statements which are against the proposal that has been submitted:
(a) Proposed development that accords with an up-to-date Local Plan should be approved and proposed development that conflicts should be refused unless other material considerations indicate otherwise.
(b) Plans should conserve heritage assets in a manner appropriate to their significance, so that they can be enjoyed for their contribution to the quality of life of this and future generations
The closing date for objections is the 2nd May 2013 and they should be addressed to Birmingham City Council, Planning and Regeneration, PO Box 28, Birmingham , B1 1TU.