A new planning policy shaping the development of a crowded student district has been backed by city councillors.
The Wider Selly Oak Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) , which outlines future development of the area, has been amended after residents and businesses demanded action to stop the spread of student houses and traffic and parking chaos.
The policy looks at how a range of major developments including the expansion of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the University of Birmingham, a new Sainsbury’s and a new life science campus are transforming the suburb and encourages developers to build more dedicated student accommodation, rather than continue to convert family houses into student digs.
Planners say that, by providing more halls, former family homes could be converted back as demand drops off.
Coun Karen McCarthy, chairman of Selly Oak district committee, said: “I’m very pleased that the SPD is now ready for adoption and would like to thank everybody involved. People were listened to.
“It’s particularly pleasing the section on housing recognises not every student in Birmingham needs to be housed in Selly Oak.
“There is already a policy expectation the students will be accommodated close to where they are actually studying so we can get to a balanced recognition of what Selly Oak should look like in future.”
Many residents, responding to consultation on a draft plan last year, also raised fears over insufficient parking at the hospitals piling pressure on local roads and the dominance of student housing in the area.
The council responded that all development would be accompanied by a ‘green travel plan’ explaining how the organisation proposed to encourage greater use of alternatives to the car.
It added that completion of the Selly Oak New Road and a redesign of the Bristol Road and Chapel Lane system would encourage better traffic flows.
Other residents still want a stop to the growth in the student houses and the draft plan has been revised to take account of these concerns, this includes a commitment to complete the Selly Oak New Road.
Consultation on the plan is open until August 3.