Sandwell Council to build school and 190 houses on Brandhall green space

A school and 190 houses will be built on the former Brandhall Golf Club - thwarting a campaign to keep it green.

The Brandhall Action Group protested outside Oldbury Council House
The Brandhall Action Group protested outside Oldbury Council House

The Brandhall Action Group held a protest outside Oldbury Council House before a crunch Sandwell Council meeting which would determine the site's future.

Old Warley Councillor Jay Anandou was given the opportunity to address the cabinet before they made the decision.

In an impassioned speech, which was greeted by applause from the public gallery, Councillor Anandou said: "Your choice will not only impact the present residents of Sandwell but the future generations who will be deprived of a natural green space flourishing with natural habitat for several species.

"Your choice will change the lives of people’s mental health. Your choice will give back to the community which has the least amount of green space in the Sandwell borough. Your choice will reaffirm the faith the residents have in Sandwell Council.

He added: "Your choice will uphold social justice for the thousands and thousands of residents who are yearning to protect and save the green space for their children and children’s children.

"Every inch of green space that will be destroyed will be lost forever and the wealth of Brandhall green space will only be a distant memory for most of us and a lost memory for future generations."

The cabinet had been given four options, to do nothing and create a public park, to build a a new primary school to replace the crumbling Causeway Green School and a new public park, to build a new primary school, public park and 190 homes or a new primary school, park and 360 homes.

Councillor Pete Hughes, cabinet member for regeneration and growth said: "I am pleased these options have significantly less homes than previous plans which were very high density."

After outlining the need to replace Causeway Green Primary School, which was built in the 1950s and is in need of demolition, and to adhere to strategic plans to build new homes which include affordable housing, Councillor Hughes urged the cabinet to vote for option three, a new school, park and 190 homes.

The remainder of the Brandhall green space which is not being built on could be listed as a Site of Local Importance for Nature Conservation (SLINC).

Former headteacher and chair of the council's education scrutiny board, Cradley Heath councillor Ann Shackleton, asked Councillor Hughes: "Can we really justify building a new school when there will be soon be a surplus of places in Sandwell?"

Councillor Hughes confirmed there was a surplus of school places in Sandwell but pointed out the high birth rate would mean more would be needed in the future.

Head of scrutiny Councillor Paul Moore peppered Councillor Hughes with questions about the plans, reports and consultation process.

Councillor Moore wanted to know why Causeway Green Primary School had fallen into such a state of disrepair, the disparity between the council's and the action group's wildlife reports and the cost of the project so far.

Councillor Hughes replied that the school's 1950s slab-built exterior was falling apart, more wildlife reports would be undertaken and £36,000 had been spent on the master plan.

Council leader Kerrie Carmichael put the matter to a vote of the nine-strong cabinet and they approved a new school, park and 190 homes.

The decision will be referred to the council's scrutiny process.

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