150 new homes set to be built on green belt land in Walsall

Up to 150 new homes could be built on an area of land in Walsall classed as green belt, after council chiefs granted outline planning permission this week.

The land earmarked for 150 homes in Walsall. Photo: Google
The land earmarked for 150 homes in Walsall. Photo: Google

Proposals to develop the disused site between Harden Road and Whateley Road in the Blakenall ward were approved subject to conditions – despite earlier council recommendations to refuse the application.

The five-acre stretch is located in the middle of a housing estate and consists of two pockets of land, with trees and small outbuildings on the northern half, whilst the southern part is made up of grassed scrubland.

Lichfield-based builders Hill & Hall Group now have the go-ahead to build up to 150 homes with 300 parking spaces, if pending conditions are agreed to.

A planning report issued by Walsall Council said: “This outline application is for a residential development with main vehicle access off Harden Road and an emergency driveway off Whateley Road South.

“The whole site, which is one mile away from the town centre, lies within the green belt and includes a large number of mature trees and hedgerows. The eastern boundary forms part of the Ford Brook Site of Local Importance for Nature Conservation (SLINC).

“A Public Right of Way (PRoW) begins on Whateley Road and runs north along the western boundary before diverting through the site to Harden Road.”

Following the application, 181 occupants in neighbouring properties were notified, with the council receiving a number of objections including loss of green belt, traffic concerns and pedestrian safety amongst others. As a result, the proposal was initially recommended for refusal by planning bosses.

“The application site is unused and has been derelict for years.  A gravelled track runs along the western boundary and contains several piles of fly-tipped material including electrical goods, gas bottles and paint,” added the report.

“A caravan is also present and there is a wooden cabin, further waste materials, horse trailers and a chicken coop.”

The site has been a long-term concern for local residents and councillors due to continued incidents of anti-social behaviour.

“To address this in the long term, a solution would be to bring forward the site for residential development. It could be argued that the significant overall shortage of housing and the local need for accommodation would outweigh the harm to the green belt,” said the report.

All four Black Country local authorities (Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton) are currently reviewing the Black Country Plan, which sets out how much land is required to meet future needs for housing, employment and other uses in the region over the next 15-20 years to 2038.

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