Express & Star

People urged to have their say on green belt housing plans

People living near green belt sites under threat from developers have been urged to make their feelings known as part of a major consultation on future housebuilding in the region.

Seven Cornfields has not been included in the plan but other green belt sites are under threat

The consultation on the Black Country Plan opened on Monday and will last for eight weeks, giving residents the chance to have their say on where thousands of homes should be built over the next 15 years.

The plan will be a major blueprint for future housebuilding in the Black Country and will see sites put forward for new developments. Officials have warned that significant swathes of green belt land may need to be sacrificed in order to meet housing targets.

Now a campaign group says it's concerned the plan has not been publicised widely enough to ensure everyone is aware of sites that are under threat, including some that may be on their doorstep.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CRPE) raised sites including land near Walsall Arboretum and Sandhills on the A461 at Walsall, as examples.

The group said it was concerned locals "may not be aware of the threat to their countryside, or that they need to put in objections to the plan if they are to have a say on what goes on in their local areas".

The consultation runs for eight weeks until October.

Mark Sullivan, chairman of the West Midlands Regional Group of the CPRE, said: “CPRE is concerned that too little is being done to make sure local residents understand what is proposed in their immediate countryside.

"It is essential that anyone who may be next door to one of these proposals knows that they need to have their say. We want people to know about these plans now.”

Senior figures such as West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and Walsall Council leader Mike Bird believe all of the thousands of homes needed in the Black Country over the next 15 years can be built on previously developed land, known as brownfield sites.

Mr Sullivan said: “Towns and cities are changing. There are going to be opportunities to redevelop in our town centres and across the wider urban area. That is the first place we need to look to build new houses.”

Other sites raised by the group include east of Northycote Lane, Moseley; Grassy Lane, off Cannock Road, Westcroft, both in Wolverhampton; and land south of Holbeache Lane, Kingswinford.