Council chiefs to lobby ministers over Black Country green belt housing plans

A council leader has insisted that "every inch" of brownfield land has been included in a controversial plan that could see the region's green belt carved up for housing.

The Triangle off Kidderminster Road, Kingswinford, is one of the sites under threat in the plan
The Triangle off Kidderminster Road, Kingswinford, is one of the sites under threat in the plan

Local authorities across the region are at loggerheads with the Government over housing allocations, claiming they cannot meet the projected 76,000 homes required over the next 20 years without building on green belt sites.

Council chiefs are urging residents to have their say on the Black Country Plan, which highlights dozens of green belt sites that could be sacrificed for more than 7,000 homes.

They have also pledged to lobby ministers, calling on them to "reassess" the number of homes needed in the Black Country.

A public consultation on the plan's first phase closes on October 11.

Councillor Ian Brookfield, leader of Wolverhampton Council, said the authority had attempted to minimise the impact of the plan by omitting green belt sites such as the Seven Cornfields.

He said: Only 11 per cent of land in Wolverhampton is green belt and keeping as much of this green belt as possible is hugely important to our new climate strategy and supporting our carbon neutral challenge.

Ian Brookfield is the leader of Wolverhampton Council

"Every inch of brownfield land in the city has been included in this plan.

"While shaping the future of housing and the growth of businesses, we will do everything we can to protect our precious green spaces and I will continue to ask Government to reassess the number of new homes they expect the Black Country to deliver.

“In Wolverhampton, our focus is on developing brownfield sites, which we have an excellent track record in doing when funding is available to remediate the land, such as Bilston Urban Village, Springfield Campus and Canalside.

"It must be remembered that no final decision has yet been made on any of the sites put forward in the draft plan, which the public are now being consulted on."

Under the plan – which allocates potential sites for development in Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton – the region also needs to allocate 560 hectares of land for new jobs.

Its publication has led to concerned residents across the region forming campaign groups in a bid to protect local green belt sites.

To take part in the consultation visit blackcountryplan.dudley.gov.uk/ or visit Wolverhampton Civic Centre reception for paper copies.

A Save Our Green Belt meeting is being held at Summerhill School, in Kingswinford, on Monday night from 7pm.

It will be attended by Dudley South MP Mike Wood, councillors and council officers.

A second meeting takes place on Thursday, from 7pm, at Dudley Town Hall, St James’s Road.

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