Express & Star

'Outrageous' reservoir plans to continue

An attempt to stop development of the Edgbaston reservoir has been overruled, despite backlash from local residents who think it is “outrageous”.

Edgbaston reservoir

They also criticised city council leader Ian Ward for referring to “actual users” of the reservoir as the people who do water sports, and not including visitors who do other activities there, like walking.

Plans to build private housing and to “enhance” the local nature reserve site – known as the Edgbaston Reservoir Master Plan –  were agreed at a cabinet meeting in October.

However, there have been widespread concerns in the local community over the potential for the public space to be privatised, and preservation of the environment for wildlife species.

At an economy and skills overview and scrutiny meeting last week, Tory leader Robert Alden and Tory councillor Richard Parkin presented their criticism of the masterplan, arguing for it to be “called in”.

A “call in” would require the decision to be reconsidered.

Council leader Ian Ward argued in favour of the masterplan, before it was discussed and put to a vote, which came to a draw with three votes on either side.

In such cases, the rules dictate the chair decides the outcome; today the chair chose not to call in the decision.

Ian Ward said the opposition and controversy was “not a surprise”, but that the decision to build housing on the Tower Ballroom site was made under the Birmingham Development Plan (BDP), which was published in 2017.

That document sets out policy for the city as a whole and the “objection should have been made then”, he said.

Councillor Robert Alden said: “Residents have raised serious concerns about the impact of the council plans to build so close to the reservoir, the negative impacts this could have on local flora and fauna and the loss of green spaces.

“It is also clear the council has failed to consider aspects of the Council’s own policies that these plans conflict with.

“Residents’ voices should be heard and the Council should continue working with local residents in that area on what would be acceptable to local residents instead of ploughing ahead.

“This is another example of the council ignoring residents in consultations”.

Tom Jones said: “It’s outrageous; we were subjected to the same stone walling assertions.

“There is still no evidence to show that building thumping great buildings on the edge of the reservoir will protect and enhance its status as an local nature reserve.

“The statement that it will have no effect flies in the face of common sense.”

Carol Booth-Davis said: “What I was really disappointed to hear was Ian Ward suggest the “actual users” of the reservoir would be the water sports users.

“This disregards the position we have where the informal users and the wildlife itself are users of the reservoir and should have equal representation.”

David Gaussen said: “I felt that what Ian Ward said was incorrect in parts.

“He said the BDP had already allocated the land for housing and that is not true; it was allocated for mixed use of housing, commercial, and community use.”

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