Plans being finalised for £200m Lion Farm outlet village off the M5
Full plans for a £200 million outlet village on playing fields in Oldbury will be submitted within months, developers have confirmed today.
The project is planned for a 200,000 sq ft site at the Sandwell Council-owned Lion Farm Playing Fields, just off Junction 2 of the M5.
And while bosses say the development will create thousands of jobs and bring investment to the area, there has been a major backlash against the scheme from local residents.
Developers want to build the outlet village - which would include more than 90 shops, cafes, restaurants and leisure venues - on green space which is regularly used by football teams, dog walkers and the surrounding community.
Their are currently 13 football pitches there along with changing facilities.
A planning application to Sandwell Council is expected to be submitted in the next few months.
Lauren Dearden, spokeswoman for developer Jeremy Knight-Adams, said: “A public consultation on proposals for a new leisure and outlet shopping destination at Lion Farm, Oldbury concluded earlier this year.
“We are now finalising the proposals and a planning application will be submitted to Sandwell Council in due course.”
Several protests have been held against the plans, including around 200 people creating a human chain on the playing fields last June.
Pete Durnell, who lives in Warley, has been heavily involved in the campaign against the plans and said that he would take the developer's plans to submit the application soon “with a pinch of salt”.
“They said they would submit these plans last autumn so we prepared for that, but then they were delayed, and delayed again,” the Brexit Party campaigner and former Ukip candidate for West Midlands Mayor said.
“We spoke to the council and they said Christmas, and then spring, and eventually we stopped asking them.
“So we’ve really been waiting for the next big thing. We did a lot of protests and demonstrations, but you can’t really get everyone to come out every month when you don’t know what’s happening. There’s only so much you can do.
“Bluntly, this is the first I’ve heard that they’re getting ready to submit their application. We’ve not heard anything from the council.
“So I’ll be taking it with a pinch of salt.”
Residents living near the site said in the past that the plans were being pushed through while keeping locals in the dark.
But Sandwell Council denied these claims and said details of the scheme had been widely publicised.
And developers say the new centre could create up to 2,000 jobs and give a much-needed boost to the local economy.
When the scheme was announced they said it would also feature a range of community facilities including two 3G football pitches.
There would also be a dedicated community hub, a Black Country Tourist Information Centre and a training and skills hub along with a crèche and exhibition venue.