Human chain protest planned over Lion Farm development
Residents opposed to the sale of playing fields in the Black Country are planning to form a human chain as a symbolic gesture to save them from development.
The Friends of Lion Farm Playing Fields are organising a protest against plans to turn the land in Oldbury into a multi-million pound shopping centre.
The campaigners are urging local people to link hands to protect the land as part of a protest organised for June 27.
The group is leafleting homes asking residents to join them in a gesture of defiance against the 200,000 sq ft development, which would be built on the council-owned land close to junction two of the M5.
In the past, protesters have claimed the plan is being pushed through while residents were kept in the dark.
That claim,however, has been denied by Sandwell Council.
A spokesman the council said that, far from being secretive, details of the proposals had been widely published in public, in council papers and through the media.
In May, campaigners picketed Sandwell Council to highlight their concerns over the plans.
Speaking at that protest, Mike Siviter, who lives on Newbury Lane close to the proposed site, spoke of his opposition to the scheme.
“I can’t understand why this is being put forward,” he said.
“I thought the councils were supposed to be redeveloping brownfield sites not green spaces.”
The campaign’s Facebook page has now issued a call for residents to come out and show their opposition.
A statement on the webpage says: “We need as many folk as possible for the Human Chain at 6.30pm, on June 27, to send the clear message to Sandwell Council – hands off our fields!”
The Lion Farm site presently accommodates 13 football fields and changing facilities.
The proposal by Jeremy George Knight-Adams Plc is to build a £200 million shopping centre on the site.
The company says the move could lead to the creation of 2,000 jobs.
The owner of the company, Jeremy Knight Adams, has given his own personal assurance that residents will be consulted about all future plans. A formal planning application is expected to be made to Sandwell Council later this year.
A decision will then be made by the council’s planning committee.
By Local Democracy Reporter George Makin