Express & Star

Industrial development plan set to fail

Plans for a huge development to be built on Green Belt land in Brownhills could be scuppered following a raft of objections to the scheme.


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Keyhill Developments Ltd want to create a number of units across more than 15 hectares of land off Barracks Lane which will be used for general industrial, light industrial and storage and distribution purposes.

The land sits across the road from where the Staffordshire Hoard was discovered in 2009 on the Lichfield-Brownhills border, although a heritage statement said it was also metal detected and no ‘significant’ remains were recorded.

But a report to Walsall Council’s planning committee shows a number of authorities and individuals had lodged formal representations against it.

Bodies including Staffordshire County Council, Highways England, the Canal and River Trust, Natural England, Lichfield Council as well as ecology and environmental protection officers voiced their opposition to the proposal.

Planners also received 102 letters of objection and raised concerns about highway safety, increased traffic, noise, loss of green space and over development of the land.

They did receive one letter of support which highlighted the employment opportunities if the development was allowed.

The developer had submitted an application for the development last year but withdrew it before coming back with this latest bid.

Agents Cerda Planning said: “Having regard to the location of the site and the ability to meet the employment needs of the borough and wider conurbation, the site is well placed to create a unique attractive gateway development into Walsall from the north-east.

“These modern units would be built to higher levels of sustainable development and are fit for purpose.

“The management of the ecological value of the site, generous green infrastructure alongside the canal and the use of sustainable drainage systems will in turn provide habitats to create a positive biodiversity enhancement, ecological benefits which go beyond mitigating effects of development.

“Approving this application will attract inward investment and provide additional spending in the local economy with long-term indirect job creation through servicing, security, and maintenance contracts.

“There are no alternative options for employment land of this scale in Walsall and no other green belt sites exist in Walsall of this scale which would result in such little harm.

“The application submission demonstrates that very special circumstances exist and that this outline application can be recommended for approval.”

But planning officers said the development was inappropriate for the Green Belt, adding insufficient information had been provided about the ecological and environmental impact it would have.

They also said there was a lack of information about the impact on traffic and highways, the impact on trees, how the development would effect existing amenities and heritage assets nearby and a lack of a flood risk and drainage strategy.

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