Thousands sign petitions to stop green belt housing plans

Thousands of people have signed petitions against green belt development in a bid to stop controversial housing plans for the region.

The Triangle in Kingswinford is one of the sites under threat
The Triangle in Kingswinford is one of the sites under threat

The consultation into the draft Black Country Plan ended on Monday amid claims from campaigners that many residents were excluded from the process.

The plan, which could see more than 7,700 homes built on green belt sites across the four boroughs, will be voted on by each council's ruling cabinet before going out to a final public consultation next August.

Sites under threat include Calderfields West next to Walsall Arboretum and the former Brandhall Golf Club in Oldbury.

Campaigners battling to save sites at The Triangle and off Holbeache Lane in Kingswinford have submitted a 10,000-signature petition to Dudley Council.

Mike Wood, Conservative MP for Dudley South, said the petition demonstrated the determination in the community to stop green spaces being "lost to housing developers".

He added: "We will need more homes, but they need to be on old industrial sites where possible, rather than our precious green fields and so there needs to be a redoubled effort to identify and secure enough brownfield sites for the homes local families will need."

Campaigners in Calderfields – which has been earmarked for nearly 600 homes – say they are determined to fight the plans until the bitter end.

Bobbi Owen said a petition they are running now has more than 1,900 signatures and a public meeting was being planned.

"If this development does go ahead, we want to be able to look back and say we did our best to stop it," she said.

Meanwhile the region has been given £3.6 million to redevelop derelict sites as part of the Government's levelling up programme.

The cash comes from a total pot of £58m, with the vast majority of the funding targeted at London and the south of England.

John Spellar, Labour MP for Warley, said the plans showed a "bias" against the Midlands and the north. "It shows how little they understand or care about the chronic housing shortage here," he said.

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