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Campaign launched to stop £200m designer outlet village in Oldbury

A campaign has been launched opposing plans for a designer outlet shopping centre in Oldbury.

The Lion Farm playing fields, centre, close to Junction 2 of the M5, where the designer village could be created
The Lion Farm playing fields, centre, close to Junction 2 of the M5, where the designer village could be created

A group opposed to the redevelopment of Lion Farm playing fields picketed a meeting at Sandwell Council last night.

They want to halt a proposal to build a designer retail outlet developers say could create 2,000 jobs and attract £200 million of investment to the borough.

The 200,000sq ft development is proposed for council-owned land close to Junction 2 of the M5.

Protesters outside Sandwell Council house

Mike Siviter, who lives on Newbury Lane close to the proposed site, said: “I can’t understand why this is being put forward.

"I thought the councils were supposed to be redeveloping brownfield sites not green spaces.

“This proposal will lead to a huge increase in traffic and congestion with all the problems of car fumes and such.”

Mr Siviter, who was among six protesters at the meeting, claimed he was concerned about 'secrecy' and 'decisions being taken behind closed doors'.

But a council spokesman said the proposals have gone through a number of public meetings – and developer Jeremy Knight-Adams will have to launch a full consultation with residents when plans are submitted.

Protesters are also worried about the sale of Londonderry Playing Fields, Smethwick, as the site for the new-build Aquatics Centre for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The Lion Farm site presently accommodates 13 football fields and changing facilities.

In 2012, Sandwell Council discussed a sales option for the land with Birmingham-based developer Jeremy Knight-Adams.

Under the agreement the authority would sell the land to the developer under certain conditions.

Any development would then have to be agreed by by the council’s development committee, before being finally approved by an independent planning inspector.

Supporters of speedway team Cradley Heathens have also drawn up plansfor a new racing track at the Lion Farm Estate.

A Sandwell Council spokesman said: "Developer Jeremy Knight-Adams has been given a concession to produce proposals for a multi-million pound designer outlet.

"An option on the land at Lion Farm was agreed at the land and asset management committee in December 2012.

"The decision has gone through a number of public council meetings including cabinet in January 2013 followed by full council in March 2013.

"Details of the scheme were again in the public domain when a further cabinet report proposing the next steps was approved in November 2017.

"The proposals have been widely reported in the local media.

"The option is not for the sale of the land. It is an option to move towards a potential sale or lease provided various conditions are met.

"No scheme can proceed unless the conditions are met and planning approval given. Any approval would need to include alternative new provision for sports pitches.

"The developer would be required to consult fully with local residents prior to any planning application being submitted.

"It is for the developer to set out the detail of any proposals that they are producing. Any planning application would also be subject to public consultation."

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