1,500 people oppose homes plan on greenbelt
More than 1,500 people have signed a petition against proposals to build 1,500 homes near Great Barr.
The sprawling development has been earmarked for agricultural fields separating Pheasey and Streetly on Queslett Road and Aldridge Road.
However campaigners have hit back against what they call 'the destruction of an important wildlife life habit'.
Steve Lilly, who started the petition, said: "We won't let our precious countryside go without an almighty fight.
"The petition was started to help fight against the destruction of an important local haven for wildlife.
"Aside from the nature aspect and well being issues associated with green space there is the massive implications of additional traffic and the pollution that this will bring."
The petition had 1,525 signatures as of Wednesday night.
The development is called Columba Park and would cost £218.5 million to build over an eight-year period.
However, no planning permission has been submitted yet to the local planning authority, which is Walsall Council. At this stage, the plans have no weight.
The development comes as the West Midlands faces a housing shortage.
A review by the Black Country Core Strategy, which is a partnership between Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton councils, found that 22,000 homes are needed in the region by 2036.
Council bosses have vowed to prioritise brownfield sites - but there is a risk greenbelt land could make way for future housing developments.
However, Pheasey Park Farm ward councillor Mike Bird, who is leader of Walsall Council, believes this development in Great Barr won’t go ahead.
He told the Express & Star this is a 'developer chancing their arm', adding: "We will defend these sites against any unnecessary housing on greenbelt land.”
The petition has received support online with dozens of people leaving comments on the petition website.
Alessa Cheyne wrote: "I've lived in Streetly for almost my whole life and have grown up with those fields near where I live.
"They are an important part of the area and are home to a lot of wildlife.
"There is already a lot of congestion on the Aldridge Road in the morning.
"There is no way I will allow houses to be built there if I can help it. It will spoil the natural look of the area, cause even worse congestion and will disturb much of the wildlife there."
Linda Coyne wrote: "We need to conserve our beautiful green belt land between Great Barr and Sutton Coldfield. Wildlife depend upon - it's their survival."
Lesley Wertheimer wrote: "Housing is needed but not at the expense of wildlife which is essential for the physical and mental heath of humans and can't be replaced."