Plans to build 600 homes on Wolverhampton green belt 'totally unnecessary'

Mayor vows to fight development.

A 600-home development planned for green belt land has been branded "totally unnecessary" by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street.

Mr Street, a long-term campaigner against building homes on the green belt, has vowed to do "everything in his power" to stop the development at Pennwood, near Goldthorn Park, Wolverhampton, going ahead.

The Mayor, who faces a battle for re-election in May, does not have any authority on planning matters. He has, however, promoted a "brownfield first" policy, which has seen several disused plots, such as former factory sites, cleared up in order to make them more attractive to developers.

Barratt Homes has put forward the plans, which have further angered locals coming on the back of similar proposed green belt developments such as Seven Cornfields, between Wolverhampton and Dudley.

Mr Street said: “This latest attack on the green belt in Wolverhampton is totally unnecessary and I will do everything I can to stop it from happening.

“We have shown that there are enough derelict brownfield sites to ensure that nothing is built on the green belt in the Black Country for at least 10 years, and the Government is providing hundreds of millions of pounds to clean up those old sites so they can be used for housing.

The Pennwood site in south Wolverhampton.

“So, when the green belt is targeted in this way it is simply a case of developers taking the easiest possible option, at the expense of the green, open spaces that local people cherish. It can not be allowed to happen.”

The Mayor continued: “Pennwood is not an opportunity for development but a vital piece of Green Belt to be defended. This is not just about defending Green Belt at critical sites around Wolverhampton like Pennwood, Seven Cornfields and Linthouse Lane, it’s about directing redevelopment and new homes to long-standing derelict brownfield sites.

“We have shown that brownfield first works – now we must ensure that developers accept that is the only option open to them in the Black Country.”

Mr Street launched his green belt pledge in Wolverhampton’s neighbouring Seven Cornfields last year – saying there was no need to develop on any green belt in the Black Country for at least a decade.

The Mayor added he would “double down” on funding and promoting brownfield sites in Wolverhampton for regeneration, to protect sites like Pennwood.

Labour's Liam Byrne is Mr Street's main opponent at May's mayoral election, which will be viewed as a key barometer of the region after Labour lost several seats at the 2019 general election.

Mr Byrne has included tackling homelessness and hunger among his top priorities.

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