Two pieces of greenbelt land in Dudley removed from Black Country Plan

Two pieces of greenbelt land in Dudley will be removed from a document setting out plans for thousands of homes to meet demand, council bosses have said.

Areas such as Holbeache Lane, in Kingswinford, still remain at risk under the Black Country Plan
Areas such as Holbeache Lane, in Kingswinford, still remain at risk under the Black Country Plan

Dudley Council's planners are working on the borough's contribution to the 76,076 homes and employment land needed under the Black Country Plan.

The homes – and 565 hectares of land for employment uses – are needed in the Black Country by 2039 with many green belt sites targeted for housing.

But now council chiefs have announced two sites – grazing land at Wollaston Farm and land at Guys Lane, Lower Gornal, will be removed from the plan.

Action has been taken "immediately" due to the sites being on council-owned land but bosses have said other protected sites will continue to be reviewed.

It means major proposals for 533 homes at The Triangle, Swindon Road, and 330 homes off Holbeach Lane – both in Kingswinford – remain in the plan.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said: "We have made it very clear that we are listening to local people and acting on the concerns they raised. We have received clear feedback from Dudley residents and we are already taking action where we can.

"As these sites are on council land we have been able to pull them from the next version of the plan and will await further evidence through ongoing work on the other sites before making a determination on their removal or retention from the plan.

"We have to make sure this plan is led by local people and that is exactly what we are doing."

Dudley's contribution to the draft proposals is for 13,235 new homes and 22 hectares of employment land overall, including brownfield sites.

Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member responsible for health and wellbeing, said: "The news of these green belt sites being removed from the Black Country Plan will be welcomed by thousands of people who really do value their green spaces and have shown in huge numbers that they do not want to lose them.

"The last couple of years of the pandemic has undoubtedly made people appreciate the environment they live in even more than they did before as people had opportunity to explore the outdoors and I welcome this firm decision to remove the sites from the plan."

The four Black Country authorities are shortly due to publish the consultation responses on the Black Country Plan website. The updated Black Country Plan (the Publication Plan) is expected to be published in autumn 2022 when all Black Country authorities will be asked to approve a final consultation on the new plan.

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