Express & Star

150 homes planned for green belt land in Sandwell

A plan to build 150 new homes on green belt land in Sandwell has been put forward.

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The layout of the planned 150 homes on green belt land off Wilderness Lane in Great Barr. Photo: Turley

The move by Wain Estates would see the housing built alongside a new public park off Wilderness Lane in Great Barr.

The new houses would take up around 15 per cent of the 67-acre green belt site and the remaining space would be mostly left alone and turned into a countryside park.

As much as 40 per cent of the new homes would be classed as ‘affordable’ housing – higher than the 25 per cent that Sandwell Council usually asks for.

But while promising more ‘affordable’ housing, the green fields off Wilderness Lane are also classed as a site of importance for nature conservation (SINC) – or in other words a ‘locally valued’ wildlife site that should be “recognised, protected and enhanced”. It is one important part of making planning decisions.

Part of the land is also classed as an area of architectural importance.

The 150-home plan said the new housing would help address a “chronic shortage” across Sandwell – which can only currently show it has enough land for housing to meet demand for the next 18 months and far below the five years it should be able to show it has.

The application by planning consultants Turley on behalf of landowner Wain Estates said that while the land was part of the green belt and open countryside, much of the housebuilding would take place near the already built-up areas around Wilderness Lane, Peak House Road and A34 Birmingham Road.

The land was put forward as a potential site for up to 355 new homes when the Black Country Plan was being put together – but was not accepted after it was deemed ‘unsuitable’ to give up green belt land.

The Black Country Plan, which would set out where up to 76,000 homes would have been built across Sandwell, Dudley and Walsall by 2039, has since been ripped up and Sandwell Council is working on its own plan – which is likely to carry over some of the aborted work.