Campaign to save green belt in Walsall steps up
The fight to stop the ‘travesty’ of Green Belt land being lost to huge housing schemes has been stepped up in Streetly.
Residents and councillors from Streetly and Aldridge have issued a rallying cry as more spaces in both neighbouring areas are considered for redevelopment as part of the controversial Black Country Plan.
They fear development would lead to a huge increase in traffic on already busy roads, loss of valuable wildlife and put more strain on already stretched local services.
The plan states that 76,000 new homes and 560 hectares of land for jobs needs to be found in the four Black Country boroughs by 2039.
In Walsall, it is proposed enough land is needed to build an extra 13,344 new houses and 164 hectares for employment use.
Around 200 sites have been identified in Walsall for the plan, which have been consulted on, but an additional three areas have also been put forward which are currently being consulted on.
These include two on Chester Road with 496 planned for land next to Pacific Nurseries and 655 on land at the junction with Little Hardwick Road.
Hundreds of homes have already been earmarked at the Pacific Nurseries site in the first phase of the plan.
Nearby resident David Wilkes said: “It’s a complete travesty. It’s going to have a massive impact on the wildlife.
“There’s no true infrastructure around here for residents such as transport – not just only for cars. There’s only a couple of bus stops and you have to get in your car to go to the train station. The roads are struggling as it is.
“We don’t have the shops, schools, doctors and dentists or any of these facilities. It’s all a struggle. It makes no sense.
“There are problems with flooding around here already. The water collects on the road but runs off into the fields. If this is all tarmac and block paving, where is it going to go?”
Around a decade ago, Adam Howell said he was only given permission to replace a bungalow with a new house on the understanding he reduced the footprint of his property – which backs on to the field – by two metres.
He said: “They were concerned we would affect the openness of the Green Belt. That was one house. You can’t swallow it. How can a position change so radically in just 10 years?”
Barry Styles added: “I’ve lived here for over 30 years. I always aware there would be development at some point, I’m not against development per se.
“But it’s just the intensity. I’m also concerned about the electricity pylons, the impact on the road network and that brownfield sites should be investigated first and then look at Green Belt.”
Jo Brook: “We’re concerned about the Green Belt disappearing. We are losing the trees, the birds, the hedgerows – it’s agricultural land and it shouldn’t, as far as I’m concerned, be taken up by housing when there are other bits of land that can be used.
“We’re concerned about people who are here will have no public transport available to them so they couldn’t walk to a train station so there would be two of three extra thousand cars on the road making it more dangerous.”
Alan Brook said: “There are so many brownfield sites they could build on. It’s too easy for builders to take sites like this. It suits them but it doesn’t suit us.
“If they succeed here, it is going to be much easier for them to do the same thing again and again and again.”
Sonia Field added: “On the Little Hardwick Road, the traffic can go right the way back at busy times because of the traffic lights which are slow.
“You can imagine the extra cars that would be generated by these developments.”
Manny Rai said: “When we bought our house three years ago, there was nothing written or said about houses being built. We would never have bought it if it had.
“We’ve only just found out about this and we only have a short amount time in the consultation.
“From our house, we have a 360 degree view of Green Belt and it is going to be ruined. This will be horrendous with 655 houses.”
Jas Rai added: “People are talking about putting their houses up for sale and moving but we don’t want to move because we get on so well with neighbours.”
Streetly ward councillor Suky Samra said: Our Green Belt is under threat like never before and we must protect it – once it has gone it can never be replaced.
“Around Aldridge and Streetly, the Green Belt has been put forward to be considered for future housing.
“We need help and urge people to add their voice to the campaign to save it. It is vital that the views of local people are heard in the campaign and we would urge them to make representations.”
A drop in session for people to get more information will be held at Streetly Sports and Community Association, Foley Road East (B74 3HR) on Friday, August 19 from 1.30pm to 6.30pm.
People have to submit comments about the additional sites by 5pm on Monday, September 5. These should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.