Dickens Heath New Village was planned in the early 1990s by Solihull Council in partnership with a lead developer, to meet around half the target housing demand for the District in a single, self-contained new settlement on Green Belt land (with the canal as the firm Green Belt boundary). Dickens Heath was a village before development commenced, but a very small one. Solihull Council owned some of the land.
Outline planning permission was granted in 1996, full permission in 2003. Development was controlled by a development partnership, which included Solihull Council and around 8 developers. The partnership retained ownership of the land. However, the lead developer went bankrupt ca 2008, which among other problems led to a delay on development of the final inner areas. The new settlement was intended to have its own village centre, primary school, library, community hall, health centre/GP surgery and an employment area adjacent to the canal. A Masterplan was commissioned by Solihull District Council from a architect John Simpson, which defined zones of higher density apartment living towards the ͚village͛ centre and lower density higher value housing towards the edges. The aim was to create areas within the village free from car traffic and to give priority to the needs of pedestrians and cyclists over the car. Residential roads within the housing areas were to be connected to the principal traffic routes, the roads being parallel to existing hedgerows and trees.