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We have addressed some of your most common questions about the site and proposed development at Penkridge North.

The site is located to the north of Penkridge and covers approximately 72.5 hectares. It extends from the existing northern edge of the village (including the existing new Bloor Homes development to the west of Stafford Road) along both sides of the A449 (Stafford Road), bounded to the west by the railway line and to the east by the River Penk. Lower Drayton Farm and an anaerobic digester plant are located to the immediate north-east.

Following a consultative process starting in 2018, South Staffordshire District Council published the pre-submission version of its new Local Plan in November 2022. The Local Plan review sets out the locations where new homes and facilities will be built in the District in the period to 2039.

Penkridge is a Main Service Village identified as a Tier 1 settlement in South Staffordshire District as it contains a wide range of community facilities, services and employment opportunities. It is also served by a railway station which provides access to nearby towns and cities that provide higher order services and employment. It is the only Tier 1 or 2 settlement in the District that is not entirely located within the Green Belt. The Local Plan Review, therefore, acknowledges Penkridge’s credentials as a sustainable location for future growth.

Draft Policy SA4 of the new Local Plan identifies the site north of Penkridge as a strategic development location, setting out the following requirements for development:

  • A minimum of 1,129 homes including affordable housing and specialist housing for older people;
  • a well located and connected community hub including a new first school, local retail and commercial premises and flexible community space;
  • a community park;
  • sports provision;
  • vehicular accesses from the A449 with a village gateway and public transport provision;
  • active travel infrastructure within and beyond the site, notably to the village centre;
  • integrated and connected green and blue infrastructure; and
  • contributions to off-site highway and community infrastructure.

We are bringing forward our emerging proposals for Penkridge North, informed by this vision set out in the Local Plan, as well as our own assessments of the site.

As the allocated site is not located in the Green Belt, and with the previous Local Plan now out of date, the early delivery of the site will help to protect Green Belt sites elsewhere around Penkridge and in the wider District from being released to meet local housing need.

Local Plans are the key documents through which local planning authorities set out a vision and framework for the future development of the area, engaging with their communities in doing so. Local Plans address needs and opportunities in relation to housing, the local economy, community facilities and infrastructure. The Local Plan provides a degree of certainty for communities, businesses and investors, and a framework for guiding decisions on individual planning applications.

Local planning authorities, such as South Staffordshire District Council, have a statutory responsibility to maintain an up-to-date Local Plan, and national policy indicates that Local Plans should be regularly reviewed, with the expectation this is done at least every five years.

South Staffordshire District Council began the process of reviewing and updating the Local Plan in 2018. The Review process included a number of key stages:

  • Issues and Options (2018)
  • Spatial Housing Strategy and Infrastructure Delivery (2019)
  • Preferred Options (2021)
  • Publication Plan and Regulation 19 Consultation (2022)

The site at Penkridge North was identified as a preferred allocation site through this process, which has been subject to extensive community consultation in 2022.

The Local Plan will be submitted to the Secretary of State at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government for examination. It will then become adopted planning policy.

It is not uncommon to start progressing planning applications for allocated sites once a Local Plan has been published and subject to Regulation 19 Consultation, which the South Staffordshire Local Plan Review has. The site has been identified as a proposed allocation in the pre-submission plan. The plan has been through extensive consultation over a four-year period, and has now been finalised ready for adoption subject to examination by the Secretary of State. As such, the Plan now carries considerable weight.

The emerging development proposals are informed by the vision established in the Local Plan and the planning process will take time, with the Local Plan examination by the Secretary of State progressing alongside it. With the previous Local Plan now considered out of date, progressing our planning applications now will ensure early delivery early on in the forthcoming plan period. That will be critical in ensuring that the Council can maintain a robust housing supply position and protect unallocated sites (i.e. those in the Green Belt) from speculative developments that may seek to take advantage of a housing supply shortfall.

Informed by the vision for the site set out in the Local Plan, we are proposing:

  • Circa 1,100 high-quality new homes, including affordable and later living accommodation for older people.
  • Extensive green public open space including a riverside community park on land that currently has no public access.
  • A network of public walks and active travel routes providing links within and beyond the new neighbourhood on land that has no existing public rights-of-way.
  • A new First School and Nursery.
  • A community hub at the heart of the development will feature a school, local shops, later living and a mobility hub. This will provide the community with essential facilities within walking distance of their homes, at a level that complements rather than competes with existing village facilities.
  • Sports pitches and play areas for community use.
  • Extensive measures to promote biodiversity, including SUDs (wetland) features, wildlife corridors, ecology buffers and riverside community park.

We are proposing high-quality new homes that will be sustainably designed to achieve low carbon living. This will include a range of house types, from starter homes and adaptable homes for later living through to larger family homes.

Yes. It is anticipated that at least 30% of the new homes will be affordable housing, in line with the policy requirement contained in the emerging Local Plan.

We are proposing a range of house types, including bungalows. The scheme will also include a later living facility for older people.

The developers of the site will ensure that methods of sustainable construction and energy efficiency will always be incorporated into every development. All homes will be built in accordance with the latest version of the Building Regulations or the Future Homes Standards (if adopted), which both set ambitious construction and energy efficiency standards.

You can find out more about the approach that Bloor Homes, who control the southern part of the site, takes towards sustainability here:

The existing woodland will be retained within the site, providing recreational and ecological benefits close to the proposed development. We are also proposing to retain as much of the existing hedgerow resource within the site as possible. The proposals will also create new hedgerows based on historic field boundaries, which will provide a framework for the network of green corridors across the site and will more than compensate for any existing hedgerow loss. Green corridors will link housing areas with key locations and facilities within and surrounding the development. Key existing vegetation will be retained as focal points within the layout.

Areas of new tree and woodland planting will be delivered to integrate the site into the surrounding landscape. We propose that the northern edge of the new neighbourhood will be strengthened with new tree planting, reflecting the character of the surrounding retained woodland areas and providing a buffer to the strategic bridleway corridor that lies to the north of the site.

Our proposed ecological community riverside park will incorporate the existing floodplain of the River Penk while maintaining the open, linear character of the river corridor. Strategic tree planting around the periphery will help to screen views of the nearby motorway.

Yes, on a site that currently has no public access, we will be creating extensive areas of green public open space and a network of green corridors that will ensure the natural environment is part of the community’s everyday life. This will provide opportunities to meet and play, strengthen social connections and encourage active travel, as well as providing landscape and ecological enhancements.

Landscape and ecological enhancements will have their foundations in the existing fabric of the site, working with the underlying topography and retaining and enhancing the site’s natural assets, including hedgerows, trees, woodlands, ponds and drainage corridors.

In addition to retained woods and hedgerows and additional tree planting, key open space features we are proposing include a network of green corridors, a riverside community park, sports pitches for community use, and areas for growing food.

Informed by the Local Plan allocation, vehicular accesses will be taken from the A449 Stafford Road. Our proposals will see the creation of a new gateway feature into the village from the north along the A449. It will help to slow traffic and provide a strong sense of arrival in Penkridge.

Improvements will be made to the A449 Stafford Road corridor as it passes through the development, reducing traffic speeds and ensuring community integration across the main road. This will include easily accessible crossing points to allow people to move safely across the road and access facilities on both sides of the A449.

A network of greenways, cycleways and footpaths will take pressure off local roads and contribute to residents’ health and well-being, while an emphasis on sustainable travel options will help minimise use of the private car. This will include improved active travel and public transport connections to the railway station and local facilities within the centre of Penkridge, coordinated from a mobility hub in the centre of the new neighbourhood.

The planning applications will be informed by extensive technical studies, including a robust Transport Assessment. This report will assess the highway safety and capacity of the surrounding highway network to ensure that the new neighbourhood can be safely accommodated.

Active travel within the site will be encouraged and facilitated through the provision of dedicated walking and cycling routes and green corridors. This will include improved routes to and from the village centre and key community facilities as well as connections to the surrounding public rights of way network.

A strategic active travel route will be created to divert pedestrian and cycle traffic away from the A449, creating a safe, attractive and dedicated link to the community and open space hubs within the site and the village centre to the south of the site.

The site is gently sloping from a high point of just over 96m on the northern boundary to around 76m on the eastern boundary. Hedgerows and tree belts provide a strong sense of enclosure along many of the field boundaries, particularly on lower ground to the south, and these will be retained. Existing woodland provides further enclosure along the eastern fringes of the site, helping to define the rising ground alongside the River Penk corridor, with the woodland prominent on higher ground to the north.

To further minimise visual impact, we propose significant structural landscaping within and around the edges of the site to reinforce planting along the northern boundary, enhance and connect existing hedgerow boundaries and help integrate the proposed housing into the surrounding landscape.

Large areas of the site are currently comprised of improved agricultural land, which is of relatively low value in terms of biodiversity. The retention of existing landscape features such as the woodland and hedgerows, alongside the creation and management of new landscape planting, SUDS features (i.e. wetland), and the riverside community park will provide new habitats and enhance the quality of the existing habitats - improving the biodiversity in the site.

The presence of the Anaerobic Digester (AD) facility was taken into account when the site was allocated for residential development in the Local Plan. Any emissions from the plant are controlled by an Environmental Permit that is regulated by the Environment Agency and, in any case, the Masterplan incorporates a non-residential buffer around the AD plant.

The vast majority of the site is located within Flood Zone 1 and as such is considered to be at lowest risk of flooding. There is a flood zone at the eastern boundary of the site associated with the River Penk. However, that is significantly lower than the remainder of the site and there will be no development in this area. We are proposing to create a publicly accessible riverside community park in the area to maximise its potential.

The surface water drainage strategy for the site will improve local drainage, which will deliver a betterment to the surrounding area over the current situation.

The site is well served in terms of access via the A449 Stafford Road. Any planning consents will include a condition for the agreement of a Construction Management Plan with the Local Authority to ensure that all construction is well managed and minimises its impact on the surrounding area.

We are at the very early stages of the planning process. However as an estimate and subject to planning, we might expect the first residential completions at the end of 2024, with the delivery of approximately 60 homes per annum in 2025/26 and 120 homes per annum thereafter.

We are proposing a community hub in the centre of the new neighbourhood which will include a range of community facilities, as well as a new First School and nursery. In addition, the development would generate significant financial contributions to be invested into local infrastructure and services such as GP surgeries, dentists, education, public transport etc. This will be determined by statutory consultation carried out by the Local Planning Authority with bodies such as the local NHS, the Local Education Authority, Local Highways Authority and others.

In addition to generating investment into infrastructure improvements in Penkridge, the development will also provide increased footfall for businesses in the town, facilitated by the improved connections we are proposing between the new neighbourhood and the village centre.

We want to understand the views and aspirations of people in Penkridge and the surrounding areas to help us shape the emerging proposals. This will ensure our plans are designed to best meet the needs and aspirations of the growing community. We are carrying out in-depth consultation with the community before submitting planning applications for the new neighbourhood. We have created a purpose-built consultation website – - and in May 2023 we carried out the first stage of consultation to provide the community with an opportunity to view the emerging proposals, highlight ideas and suggestions, and help us to shape a neighbourhood that delivers the amenities, homes and facilities that Penkridge needs.

Having reviewed feedback from the community from the first stage of consultation, we have refined the emerging plans to try to take local comments into account where possible. The website has been updated with a second stage of consultation providing information about the proposals as they take shape towards planning applications.

We are also holding a drop-in exhibition of the proposals in the local community. This will take place as follows:

Venue: Haling Dene Centre, Cannock Road, Penkridge, ST19 5DT
Date: 6 July 2023
Time: 2pm – 7:30pm

Once the planning applications are submitted there will be a further opportunity for you to have your say when South Staffordshire District Council carries out their own Statutory Consultation on our plans.