Call for extra protection for Dudley green belt to be fast tracked
A Dudley councillor fighting to protect green belt land has said the government’s pledge to ‘build, build, build’ out of recession could see safeguards for the countryside being swept aside.
Councillor Gaye Partridge is now calling on the local authority to fast track protection for Foxcote Farm, which lies between Wollescote and Cradley Heath, to help stop developers building 1,500 homes.
Saying that changes in regulations could make it easier for house-builders to gain planning permission, she added: “I fear that protection for the green belt could be swept aside.”
She is now wants Dudley Council to be one of the first local authorities in the country to use new powers to designate land as local green space.
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“Local green spaces are one of the very, very few planning mechanisms that allows a community to stake a claim on land that is important to it.
“As a community we have been trying to get the land designated as local green space.”
She added: “We think we are putting together a very good case but what we can’t get Dudley Council to do is confirm how we can get the application in and get that designation awarded.
“It’s a brand new legislation giving extra protection and there is nothing in Dudley which has that extra protection at the moment.
“I believe that no local authority in Midlands has done it but the clock is ticking and I don’t want to find ourselves in the position that the government decides to change planning regulations and we won’t be able to protect Foxcote.”
The campaign to save the farm was launched in July last year after publication of the Black Country Plan – a 15 year regional strategy outlying over 300 sites for commercial and housing developments in Sandwell, Wolverhampton, Walsall and Dudley.
In total, it proposed building nearly 27,000 homes, many in the countryside on the edge of the Black Country.
A public consultation on the plan was to be launched this autumn but due to the coronavirus outbreak it has been put back to summer next year.