Wolverhampton Council leader vows to protect the green belt
The leader of Wolverhampton Council has made it his priority to protect green belt land across the city, amid concerns over its future.
Councillor Ian Brookfield said developers were "not allowed" to use the spaces as he reaffirmed his backing to redeveloping brownfield land first.
It came as the authority looked to respond to South Staffordshire District Council's Draft Local Plan, which highlighted a need for 8,845 homes by 2037 – meeting a shortfall of around 4,000 from the Black Country.
The proposals could see 2,500 homes built between Essington and Wednesfield, along with 600 in Perton, more skirted around the border with Wolverhampton, and other sites highlighted in Dudley and Wordsley.
But Councillor Brookfield has ruled out any development on green belt now and in the future, saying people's views wouldn't change over the "asset".
He said: "Our current local plan is valid until 2026 and it's absolutely embedded in there that it's our priority to save our green belt. You are not allowed to use that.
"And in 2027 there will be another plan, but why would that general principle be any different? I can't say for certain, but why would people's views change over this?
"We will protect our green belt – the city has 11 per cent of space that is green belt.
"It's far too valuable an asset for us to just give away."
A report, highlighting Wolverhampton Council's response to the plan, said it must "make full use of brownfield and urban site options to minimise green belt release".
It added: "A number of the housing options could involve significant development close to the boundary of Wolverhampton.
"This could have implications in terms of infrastructure such as transport, education, health services and open space, and could impact on the environmental quality and amenity of areas at the edge of Wolverhampton."
South Staffordshire District Council planners will review all the suggested sites and choose their preferred locations, which will be put out for consultation this summer.