New hope for campaigners in fight to stop homes on Seven Cornfields site in Wolverhampton

There will be no new homes built on Wolverhampton’s Seven Cornfields due to it being excluded from a housing plan, a councillor has claimed.

An aerial image of the Seven Cornfields site
An aerial image of the Seven Cornfields site

Councillor Paul Birch insists the green belt land, which spans 87.2 acres and is earmarked for a total of 650 homes, has been saved.

But other politicians in the region have warned nothing has yet been agreed, with an official decision over the future of the site due to be made in the coming weeks.

A draft version of The Black Country Plan, which had included the site, will be published on June 25 ahead of a public consultation.

Councillor Birch, who launched the Save the Seven Cornfields campaign, said he believed the land would not be included in the list of “allocated” sites.

He said: “I’m delighted, frankly, for the people of these wards – Blakenhall, Penn and Ettingshall and Sedgley – that they have won this, they’ve won and the politicians have stood behind them and listened to them for a change – 8,000 people can’t be wrong.

“I’m a resident here – I don’t think about myself as a politician – and my family is here. I want the best outcomes for us and it’s good news for a change because we lose so many things.”

However, Dudley North MP Marco Longhi called for caution and urged people to wait until the official announcement over the future of the site is made.

He said: “I have been working closely with residents to stop any of the proposed developments on our green belt via the Call to Sites initiative. I welcome any news that a proposed development will not be allowed on our green belt.”

Shortfall

A spokesman for Wolverhampton Council added: “The Draft Black Country Plan is set to go live on June 25 ahead of the public consultation and we are unable to comment on matters related to it until it is published.”

The Seven Cornfields was placed at risk of development under The Black Country Plan framework which aims to meet a housing shortfall in Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall – with the need to build 76,076 by 2039 of which there is a shortfall of 36,819.

It led to developer Barratt Homes submitting proposals for 1,300 homes on the Seven Cornfields, which spanned 284 acres across the Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire border.

However, the proposals were scaled down after South Staffordshire District Council said it would not be taking them into account for its own local plan of housing needs. It meant only the Wolverhampton side of the Seven Cornfields could be built upon, with Barratt Homes naming the proposed development its Pennwood site.

The proposals have been met with backlash from residents, with thousands rallying around to sign a petition and campaign against it.

As part of the process to meet housing needs, developers were invited to submit land for housing development, in a process called Call For Sites as part of the Black Country Plan. Housing proposals across Dudley, Walsall, Sandwell and Wolverhampton were submitted, including areas of green belt.

This has caused concern for communities around the region who have fought against proposals to build on green space in their areas. Housing targets for local authorities are set by the Government, leaving council planners to meet those numbers.

In some cases, those numbers could be overestimated.

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