NEW INQUIRY : Planning for the Future: Housing and Economic Development in the West Midlands

The West Midlands Select Committee is to examine issues relating to the Regional Spatial Strategy as work on the strategy reaches its completion and as the new Single Regional Strategy is introduced as its replacement. The Committee is interested in receiving views on the following issues:

€ What the change from the RSS/RES to the Single Regional Strategy (SRS) will mean for planning authorities at regional and local level. Are there any benefits or risks for the single Regional Plan process?

€ Whether strategic planning in the West Midlands should continue to be set at the regional level, and whether it has an appreciable influence over development in the region

€ Is the method used to derive the overall number of houses to be provided in the region still appropriate, or are there any potentially better alternatives? Could a better Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) process in the region lead to better regional estimates?

€ How local authorities will approach the task of providing different types of housing for their own areas within the broad quantities they are allocated

€ Whether central government is providing adequate guidance and support to bodies involved in housing delivery, and what role the Homes and Communities Agency plays in the strategic planning process

€ Whether the aim of achieving urban renaissance through directing housing growth to, for example, the Black Country, is achievable, and whether it is appropriate in current economic circumstances

€ How the new Single Regional Strategy might contribute to housing market renewal in the Housing Market Pathfinder Areas and elsewhere

€ How the RSS and the new SRS can assist sustainable growth and the development of sustainable communities (as envisaged in the Government's Sustainable Communities Plan) throughout the region

The Committee asks for written submissions in accordance with the guidelines stated below by noon on Monday 25 January 2010, although submissions received after that date will be accepted. The Committee expects to hold its first evidence session in early February.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at:

Please also note that once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee will normally, although not always, choose to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.