The Government’s target is for 76,000 new homes to be built in the Black Country by 2039. The 4 councils that make up the region: Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton, have been working together on a coordinated plan for the future development needs of the whole area.
Earlier this year more than 20,000 people from across the 4 boroughs responded to a joint consultation process.
Last week Dudley Council, without any prior notice, decided to stop collaborating with their neighbouring authorities and to pull out of the plan, going against the agreed approach and years of faithful collaboration between the four councils.
In response Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton councils have no option but to now develop their own local plans. Despite this, all 3 councils intend to continue to work together on areas of common interest.
City of Wolverhampton Council Leader, Councillor Ian Brookfield, said: “Dudley Council’s decision to walk away from the Black Country Plan will lead to delays and extra cost, which is disappointing after the 4 authorities collaborated over a number of years to progress the plan so far. We will now work with people we can trust to meet our legal requirement to prepare a Local Plan for Wolverhampton that delivers the necessary housing and employment land in a sustainable way - and provides certainty for our communities, businesses and stakeholders.”
Leader of Sandwell Council, Councillor Kerrie Carmichael, said: “We’re disappointed that the joint approach we have all been working towards for many years has fallen through. The Government has set challenging targets for new housing in Sandwell so it’s important we progress planning for Sandwell’s future housing and employment needs whilst continuing to listen to the feedback and information that we receive from residents, businesses, investors and other stakeholders. We’ve now decided that the best way to work towards achieving these aims is to develop our own Local Plan for Sandwell.”
Leader of Walsall Council, Councillor Mike Bird said: “The 4 councils of the Black Country have been working hard to find a way forward for our future development needs. A great deal of time and money has been invested into developing a single Black Country Plan. It is a great shame that Dudley Council has decided to pull the plug. We will now concentrate on developing a local plan for Walsall.”
Proposals to develop local plans for Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton are to be discussed by each council at future cabinet meetings.