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Walsall Town Centre area action plan examination

The Walsall Town Centre Area Action Plan (AAP) and Site Allocations Document (SAD) were both subject to an examination by a planning inspector after a lengthy process of building an evidence base and public consultation, before their adoption in 2019.

You can find an archive of the examination documents and outcomes below. All consultations associated with this stage of the AAP/SAD are now closed.

You can also find out more about equivalent examination page archived for the Site Allocations Document (SAD).

The AAP was independently examined by Planning Inspector; Jameson Bridgwater, in October 2017.  As part of the examination process the Inspector identified a number of Main Modifications that were considered necessary to make the plan sound, and consultation on these modifications was undertaken in February-April 2018.  Having considered the representations made in response to the modifications, together with those made at previous stages, the Inspector has now presented his recommendations in a report.  You can view the Inspector’s Report and the list of Main Modifications made to the submission version of the AAP below.

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A version of the AAP that includes the Main Modifications as recommended by the Inspector (together with Minor Modifications, which do change the meaning or application of  policies) is in preparation.

Following receipt of the Inspector’s Report the AAP is now considered to have substantial weight in decision making.  

In order for the plan to have full weight it will need to be adopted by full Council. It is anticipated that this will be at the start of 2019.

The Council is hoping to receive the Inspector’s Report on the Site Allocation Document in the coming weeks and will look to adopt both plans at the same Council meeting.   

If you wish to be notified of the publication of the Inspector’s Report for the SAD and/or the adoption of the two plans please email

All of the representations received for the Examination Modifications Consultation have been published on the Consultation Representations page.

This consultation has now closed. All representations that have been duly made will be sent to the Inspector and an acknowledgement letter will be sent in due course.

Walsall Town Centre Area Action Plan is being being examined by an independent Inspector (Mr Jameson Bridgwater) whose role is to assess whether the plans have been prepared in accordance with the Duty to Co-operate, legal and procedural requirements and whether they are sound.

As part of the examination process the Inspector has identified a number of Main Modifications that are considered necessary to make the plans sound; these can be found in the schedules of modifications below. This consultation has provided the opportunity for those with an interest in the plans to make representations on these proposed modifications.

What are the Main Modifications?

The Main Modifications are proposed by the Inspector under section 7C of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004:

“(7C)If asked to do so by the local planning authority, the person appointed to carry out the examination must recommend modifications of the document that would make it one that: -

a) satisfies the requirements mentioned in subsection (5)(a), and

b) is sound.”

The proposed Main Modifications consist of a schedule of modifications in the order they appear in the submitted plan. The last column of the schedule provides the reason as to why the modification is proposed. The Main Modifications can be viewed here:

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A 'marked up' version of the AAP has been produced by the Council to show the effects of these modifcations on the plan as a whole. This is available to view below:

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How can I comment on the Main Modifications? 

Representations to this consultation should have been confined to the Main Modifications and any comments that attempt to raise or address previous issues will not be considered by the Inspector.

This consultation was not an opportunity to raise matters that either were, or could have been, part of the earlier representations or hearings on the submitted plans.  It is not necessary for you to repeat previous representations or comments, as the Inspector has access to your previous responses. 

The consultation on the Modifications runs for six weeks from 26th February – 5pm 9th April 2018.

This consultation has now closed. All representations that have been duly made will be sent to the Inspector and an acknowledgement letter will be sent in due course.

In order for the Inspector to formally take into account your views they must be submitted in writing.  Response forms are available below. 

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Representations should focus on whether you consider the proposed modifications to impact on the plans’ “soundness”. This is based upon key questions about each of the plans:

  • Positively prepared – does the plan allocate enough land to meet all needs for the various uses where it is reasonable to do so and consistent with placing development in the right locations?
  • Justified – is the plan the most appropriate strategy when considered against reasonable alternatives?
  • Effective – can the proposals in the plan be delivered over its period? and
  • Consistent with national policy – is the plan in accordance with national policies?

You should try to support your representation by evidence showing why the plan or plans should be changed and set out precisely how you think it should be changed to make each plan sound.

Representations may be accompanied by a request to be notified at a specified address of the following.

The publication of the recommendations of the person appointed to carry out the independent examination.  

The adoption of the plans

A Statement of Representations Procedure has been produced and can be viewed below: 

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What other changes are being proposed to the plan? 

A number of Minor Modifications have also been produced by the Council which are available for information. These Minor Modifications do not change the meaning or scope of a policy, but are provided for clarity.  A schedule of Minor Modifications is available to view below: 

Download list

A list of changes that impact on the AAP Policies Map are included in the Minor Modifications Schedule. An amended map has also been proposed to illustrate the changes and is available below: 

Download list

Have the social, economic and environmental impacts of the additional development proposed as a result of the Main Modifications been assessed?

The Main Modifications have been the subject of a Sustainability Appraisal.  

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What happens after the consultation closes? 

Following the close of the consultation, representations received in response to the Modifications will be collated by Walsall Council and forwarded to the Inspector. The Inspector will consider all the valid responses made to this consultation, together with those made at previous stages and will present his recommendations in a report.  He may also feel it necessary to hold a further examination hearing to discuss any points raised.

The Council will not comment on or respond to the representations received as responses to the Modifications are for the Inspector to consider.  The Council will however send confirmation of receipt in response to consultation representations received within the consultation period.

The Inspector

Planning Inspector; Jameson Bridgwater PGDipTP MRTPI has been appointed to undertake an independent examination into the soundness of the Walsall Town Centre Area Action Plan (AAP).

The Inspector’s task is to consider the soundness of the submitted AAP, based on the criteria set out in paragraph 182 of the National Planning Policy Framework (the Framework). The relevant soundness criteria are whether the AAP is: 1 – positively prepared (based on a strategy that seeks to meet objectively assessed development and infrastructure requirements, including unmet requirements from neighbouring authorities where it is reasonable to do so and consistent with achieving sustainable development); 2 – justified (the most appropriate strategy when considered against the reasonable alternatives, based on proportionate evidence); 3 – effective (the AAP should be deliverable over its period and based on effective joint working on cross-boundary strategic priorities); and 4 – consistent with national policy (the AAP should enable the delivery of sustainable development in accordance with the policies in the Framework ).  

The Inspector will take into account the representations submitted upon the AAP at both Publication and Pre Submission Modifications stages as far as they relate to soundness considerations. A number of informal debates will take place on the principal matters identified by the Inspector these are termed Hearing Sessions.

Following the closure of the Examination, the Inspector will prepare a report to the Council with precise recommendations, these recommendations may include modifications to the AAP, if such a request is made by the Council.

Briefing Notes have been prepared by the Inspector to help people understand the process. Any queries people may have regarding the Examination process should be directed to the Programme Officer who will be happy to assist.

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The Programme Officer

The Programme Officer, Ian Kemp, will act as the contact for any person who has an interest in the Examination and as a liaison between the Inspector, Council and Representors.

He is an independent Officer of the Examination and works on behalf of the Inspector to organise and manage the administrative and procedural matters of the Examination process. Mr Kemp is the appropriate point of contact for any questions relating to timetabling or procedural matters.

Any matters that anyone wishes to raise with the Inspector should be submitted via the Programme Officer.

Contact details:

Ian Kemp, 16 Cross Furlong Wychbold Droitwich Spa Worcestershire WR9 7TA

Telephone: 01527 861 711

Mobile: 0772 300 9166


Hearing Sessions Venue and Timetable

Hearing Sessions will commence on Monday 16th October 2017 within Committee Room 2 of Walsall Civic Centre, Walsall, WS1 1TP.

A Programme for the Hearings incorporating Matters, Issues & Questions is now available.

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All sessions will be open to the public to attend and observe without prior arrangement.

Evidence Base Documents

In preparing the AAP the Council both refer to and were informed by a number of documents that together form the 'Evidence Base' for the Examination.   A list of the Evidence Base that provides links to where the documents can be viewed is available below:

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Post Submission Documents

The following documents have been submitted as part of the examination in response to requests from the Planning Inspector.  EXAM 1 - 25 were submitted as part of the SAD examination and can be found on the SAD Examination webpage.

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