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Regional Investment Sites

The Area Action Plan, or AAP, is a broader planning document that contains the Councils long term vision for the Aston area; the Regional Investment Site (referred to elsewhere as the proposal) forms part of this document.

The following description of a Regional Investment Site is quite specific in its definition of such a site stating a minimum size of 25 hectares (ha) or 62 acres, with the implication that it should be in a single contiguous site.

 

Policy PA7 requires the provision of a series of Regional Investment sites to support the diversification and modernisation of the economy and the development of the Region’s cluster priorities as identified in the Regional Economic Strategy.

i) Between 25-50 ha;

ii) High quality sites attractive to national and international investors;

iii) Served or capable of being served by multi-modal transport facilities and broadband IT infrastructure;

iv) Well related to the motorway and trunk road network;

v) Located within, or close to, the areas of greatest need; and

vi) Accessible to effective education and training opportunities to ensure that the employment benefits are available to the local workforce.

 

By their own admission the Council has identified a maximum of 20 ha to be delivered in 3 phases over a period of 15 years. The somewhat arbitrary phasing would appear to relate to the land that the Council thought it controlled through AWM at the time of preparation of the AAP (confirmed in paragraph 3.17 of the AAP). The physical layout of the area however is of two separate sites of roughly equal size bisected by two major embanked railway lines. The Council have included the ‘v’ shaped portion of land formed by the two railway lines into Phase 2 in order to suggest continuity of the site.  In reality this segment would be of no interest to developers being at its widest less than 100m tapering to 0m, 200m in length and bounded by railway embankments on two sides and the Aston Expressway viaduct on the other. The available land in this segment is split into 3 very small pieces by a very busy ‘T’ junction which provides access to the core employment area of Witton.  The RIS is therefore in reality two physically separate sites with a motorway viaduct, two railway embankments and two main roads running through them.

Whilst the Council controls the majority of Phase 1 (in its two sites at either end of their supposed RIS) the rest of the area in Phases 2 & 3 is under very fragmented ownership (AAP para 3.17)

Taking the above into account it seems that this is not in fact an RIS but four separate developments of some 10 acres each, to be delivered over 15 years.


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